HR (Human Resources) play a fundamental role in any business. They oversee an important component of a successful business — a productive, thriving workforce. The role of human resource management is to organise people so that they can effectively perform work activities and deal with any issues that arise from personal interactions.
As seen on the news, sexual harassment incidents are being brought to the limelight. Your average HR often have to deal with accusations of sexual harassment cases in their organisations.
Listed below are some of the roles that HR need to play when dealing with workplace sexual harassment:
- Know what constitutes sexual harassment
Sexual harassment does not only include sexual behaviour. Although it is most commonly linked to unwanted advances or inappropriate sexual comments, it also includes any discriminatory action based on gender (whether male or female).
- Know the law
Remember that HR managers are not legal experts, but they should have a basic understanding of sexual harassment laws in South Africa. The legislation includes the Employment Equity Act and Code of Good Practice on the Handling of Sexual Harassment.
- Know company policy
It is important for HR managers to have full knowledge of their company’s policies and procedures to ensure the correct action is taken against an employee. HR manager must be able to explain and guide employees through reporting sexual harassment incidents.
- Make use of training
The HR team is usually responsible for organising sexual harassment training. Preventing sexual harassment training is a must for all employers. HR should make it clear that there is a zero tolerance policy against any type of harassment.. The training should give employees clear instructions on the procedures to be followed should they be harassed. .
- Keep documentation
HR is responsible to file all information about the reported incident and to ensure that the documentation is safe and secure. HR must take down accurate notes and/or recordings while consulting with the involved parties. HR can also gather witness testimonies that can be used during the grievance and disciplinary procedure as supporting evidence.
- Culture of confidentiality
Due to the sensitivity of sexual harassment matters, it must be dealt with privately and confidentially. Only necessary involved parties must be present during the grievance and/or disciplinary procedure.
The Labour Counsel offers various services for HR to help them with the issue of workplace sexual harassment. From HR training, live HR support, Grievances, LRA compliancy to employment guides, we have got you covered. Trust the experts, choose The Labour Counsel.