04.12.2023-BONELA CONDEMNS WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND BULLYING

  1. BONELA has noted with concern social media circulations of one Ms. Kelebogile Moesi, a former Debswana employee, who was allegedly dismissed from duty while on sick leave. It is alleged that her supervisor would victimize, intimidate, and threaten her by telling her that he had fired many people before her. It is alleged that She raised several grievances (8) against her supervisor with a complaint of sexual harassment none of which were formally heard or attended to by Debswana. On this matter, Ms Kelebogile Moesi is represented by Mbewe Attorneys.
  2. Workplace sexual harassment and bullying are considered as two of the major causes of counterproductive workplace behavior. A fairly comprehensive definition by the CEACR considers sexual harassment as “any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favor, verbal or physical conduct or gesture of a sexual nature, or any other behavior of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offense or humiliation to another. It includes a wide range of behaviors, from glances and rude jokes, to demeaning comments based on gender stereotypes, to sexual assault and other acts of physical violence. Workplace sexual harassment is internationally condemned as sex discrimination and a violation of human rights.
  3. Similarly, workplace bullying is also a serious and prevalent issue in workplaces that can have harmful effects on employees. It involves the unjust and persistent mistreatment of employees, which can take various forms, including verbal abuse, intimidation, humiliation, and exclusion. Victims of workplace sexual harassment and bullying tend to suffer from various mental disorders like depression, frustration, anxiety, and are demoralized. This problem not only harms the mental and physical well-being of victims but also affects productivity, creativity, and overall organizational performance.
  4. Dejectedly, as we have witnessed in Ms. Kelebogile’s case, employees that report cases of sexual harassment and bullying are usually subjected to victimizations following the report.  The main feature of victimization is that it punishes an aggrieved employee for speaking out or stops them from complaining. Victimization can cover a wide range of conduct, including anything that puts the employee at a disadvantage within the workplace or places them in a worse position than they were before. The treatment is not always openly hostile, it can also take more subtle forms such as gas lighting, the goal of gas lighting is to make the victim doubt their reality and experiences. 
  5. It ought to be noted that the right not to be subjected to discrimination is a fundamental human right protected under article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR provides that everyone has the right to work, the right to freedom of choice of employment and to just and favorable conditions of work thus recognizing that the right to work cannot be fully enjoyed if it is not accompanied by just and favorable conditions of work. Therefore, it is essential to address workplace sexual harassment and bullying and protect the human rights of employees to promote a healthy and inclusive work environment.
  6. BONELA contends that as a breach of human rights, workplace bullying and sexual harassment are a major problem that have to be addressed. Workplace sexual harassment and bullying should be classified as serious misconduct, and employers should be legally obliged to formulate on the matter. BONELA encourages organizations to not only draft but to implement anti-sexual harassment and anti-bullying policies and to revise policies that would not lead to fair outcomes, the policies must set out the structures to which sexual harassment and bullying must be reported and the manner in which cases will be dealt with. Organizations ought to foster an inclusive culture, providing accessible reporting mechanisms, providing training of staff and ensuring efficient resolution procedures where formal hearings are convened considering the serious nature of misconduct, they fall in.

LET’S UNITE TO END WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASMMENT AND BULLYING.

For more information, contact BONELA on:

Katlego Sechele at ksechele@bonela.org  or 72282025

Cindy Kelemi at cindyk@bonela.org  or 72385054