Codes of Good Practice for Handling Sexual Harassment Cases in the Workplace
One of the many very recent changes to labour legislation has been the issuing of a notice by the Minister of Labour on 19 December 2018 regarding the Codes of Good Practice for Handling Sexual Harassment Cases in the Workplace.
On 17 July 1998 (Government Notice R1367) the first code in this regard was issued. However, on 04 August 2005 this code was amended by the issuing of a second notice.
Many thought that the amended code repealed the previous code. However the first code was in fact never repealed. This meant that both codes remained in force and applied.
As noted in Campbell Scientific Africa (Pty) Ltd v Simmers and others, the amended code did not replace the existing code, which had never been withdrawn.
The significance is that the new code introduced a new definition of “sexual harassment”, with far more emphasis or factors, other than, for example, merely or only if the sexual advances were welcomed, and whether or not they were unequivocally rejected. Given the facts and circumstances of any case, the application of the wrong emphasis, or code, could have resulted in unfairness.
On 19 December 2018 the Minister issued a notice repealing and replacing the 1998 code with the 2005 code. The risks associated with any incorrect emphasis or application, have thus been removed.
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