“Justified” harassment

A senior Transnet employee was dismissed following a closed-door conversation in which sexual comments and remarks were exchanged between six male employees regarding fellow female employees. The conversation was recorded and circulated in the workplace. Dismissals for participating in the conversation and failing to report it to management followed.

The employee referred an unfair dismissal dispute. He stated at arbitration that the conversation was acceptable within the Coloured community, and that this was how men liked to talk about women.

Shockingly, the arbitrator found that the dismissal was unduly harsh as conversations such as the one under scrutiny are commonplace amongst dockyard workers globally and the employee was unaware of his duty to report the conversation. The arbitrator therefore awarded reinstatement, with a written warning and a requirement that the employee submit a written apology and receive corrective training.

It is disturbing in the light of the recent publication of the Code of Good Practise on Harassment in the workplace.

UNTU obo Nicholas Peter Nel v Transnet National Ports Terminal, a Division of Transnet SOC Ltd TNBC 59 (29 March 2022)

Mark - 10:27 @ common, Industrial Relations, Human Resources, B-BBEE | Add a comment

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