‘Sexual harassment is for whites only’

iol news pic justice-scale and gavel nov 15 . A chinese man is fighting deportation at the Johannesburg High Court in a bid to save his unborn child.

A computer company has been ordered to pay R60 000 damages to a former employee after it was found it did not adequately address her complaints of sexual harassment by a superior.

The woman claimed R200 000 in damages from Sahara Computers Ltd.

She was a clerk when a manager from another department sexually harassed her.

She instituted a claim for mental anguish and psychological trauma in the Pretoria High Court.

She said her employer was obliged to provide her with a safe working environment where she would not be subjected to sexual harassment. She said she reported the sex pest to her superiors but the company was reluctant to act against the culprit.

She said she did not hold her employer liable for the actions of the sex pest, but said the company should have acted against him when she lodged the complaint.

She testified that she started to work as a clerk at the firm in November 2006.

A few months later, the manager of another department, asked her “how did she come to work there without passing through him”.

He told her everyone had to first pass him and that he would like to have sex with her. She told a colleague about this, who advised her to ignore it, as the man was “well connected”.

She said the manager often came to her department and always told her he wanted to have sex with her. One morning, while she was sitting on a chair, he came from behind and put his arms around her and tried to touch her private parts.

Two other colleagues saw this.

She reported him to her manager but he told her he could not do anything as the man was “well connected”.

He said her complaint could instead lead to her dismissal.

He, however, undertook to look after her in her department and see that the manager did not bother her there. She said the sex pest kept on visiting her when her boss was not there and told her that “sexual harassment is for whites only and does not apply to him”.

Once he came into the storeroom where she was but only later realised her boss was also there.

He then left, but told her in Tswana that “he will get her and she will have sex with him”.

Another time, she said, the sex pest poured water on her private parts. When she complained to bystanders, he held out his phone to her and told her to phone his superiors, as they would not do anything.

She also testified about other incidents. She said in February 2008 she officially complained to the company’s human resources (HR) department.

A disciplinary hearing was held where the man admitted he was “harsh or rude” towards her. He was issued with a final warning.

She was unhappy with the outcome and said she at least expected him to be suspended. When she encountered him after this at work, he had a threatening attitude towards her, she said.

She said she tried to appeal the finding of the disciplinary hearing, but nothing came of it. She then resigned in May 2009 “as she felt her employer was not protecting her”.

Judge Ben du Plessis found that something happened to upset the woman and on the evidence, that something could only be the sexual harassment she claimed.

Du Plessis said the company acted reasonably regarding the sexual harassment after she reported it to the HR department.

But, he said, the problem should have been addressed earlier, when she told her manager about it.

While he protected her within the confines of their office, the harassment on the premises continued elsewhere. The judge said if her manager reported her complaint earlier to HR, the harassment would have stopped then.

The company should have had management and disciplinary structures to immediately and effectively have dealt with the complaint, the judge said. - Pretoria News


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LouCypher, wrote

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01:07pm on 29 November 2010
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@TK - the first and last letters of the word ThicK - like in very, very stupid. So, don't bother about his ThicK comments. He's very stupid.

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Tokolosh, wrote

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12:49pm on 29 November 2010
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‘Sexual harassment is for whites only’ This is funny.

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Anonymous, wrote

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12:40pm on 29 November 2010
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TK........ You are probably a perverted, insiped little prick. Why don't you pi$$ off and go get a life? I too, am done with Sahara.Guess who owns it, and check the 'connections' And yep, I am male.

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SPR, wrote

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12:25pm on 29 November 2010
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T.K. you are such a wanker and men like you need to have it chopped off, because you are no good to man (woman) or beast..... I am in the Multi Media Industry and I will make sure I send a copy of this artical, and a petition to all the people I know & deal with in the advertising, & marketing indutry & I am talking in the thousands, to boycott Sahara for poor conduct towards a staff member needing help, and trust me my industry is full of women and men (not cowards) that will find this equally disgusting, and agree with this cause...

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melanie, wrote

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12:13pm on 29 November 2010
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lol@mouse, no need for spy tricks, just shout loudly when he starts 'eff off you ugly fat pig with stink breath' etc etc and draw unpleasant and unwanted attention to him...... embarrassment is also a handy tool in these cases

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Good stANCe, wrote

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12:12pm on 29 November 2010
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People, have we not now come to the realisation that in order to get anywhere in SA business this has become the norm. All the well connected COMRADES are made tokenPUPPET directors in order for the company to succeed in securing further Government TENDERS - and if the President can do it and get away with it, why cant his IMPIS??? Good on the young lady for standing by her morals and blowing the whistle on them - others may have just seen this as an opportunity to 'sleep their way to the top'- another sick & scary statistic in SA Business...

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Anonymous, wrote

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12:08pm on 29 November 2010
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It is true that there are many women who suffer severely under sex pests in the work place. Some women always suffer in silence without telling anyone about what is happening. When a matter is reported to the HR it takes so long to be resolved. Hence, bosses that are well connected are really untouchables. Application of workplace disciplinary actions depends on who you are and who do you kow. Women who are often subjected to this harassment must quickly inform their HR and trade union to ensure that they are protected against abuse. Union will make a follow up and nag HR to convene a proper hearing and ensuring fairly application of the workplace policies to root out such sexual pesticm prevailing in the workplace. I think the judge should have fined an employer heavily to ensure that it does not happen under his nose again.

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Anon E Mouse, wrote

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11:19am on 29 November 2010
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Folk, get yourselves an MP3 player, and record conversations on it or on your cellphone. Get a spy camera that looks like a pen, and record what happens at your desk. There is no need to suffer like this.

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JMP, wrote

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11:18am on 29 November 2010
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@TK - Your comment is "Some chicks should really lighten up. Would it have been so bad to just get it out the way.." What an a$$ you are. I suppose you think rape is also ok - that no means yes?????? This is exactly the problem with certain men (PS - I am a man and am writing this). All persons working should be treated fairly without regard to gender, race, religion etc. Why should this lady have to put up with the unwanted actions of one person. The moment she said NO then he should have backed off. The moment her manager became aware of the unwanted advances action should have been taken. I hope the company tries to get the guilty person to pay back the some of the R60 000. Both the company and the guy are guilty.

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:12am on 29 November 2010
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So sad this does not happen and everyone ignores it and even when you do stand up if you dont have money or know someone you left out in the cold! Right were I am!!

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Bongile , wrote

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11:07am on 29 November 2010
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They say money gives you power___ holding an high ranking position also does the same...men like this should go out and buy sex___ with help their overated ego's.

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:05am on 29 November 2010
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Protected?? Well connected?? I wonder if this story would have been printed in The New Age newspaper had it been launched??

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themba M, wrote

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11:02am on 29 November 2010
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This lady should be paid 12months salary for constructive dismissal and a record should be made of the person who harrassed her by the police so that if he is caught again, -he goes straight to jail. Full Stop.

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:52am on 29 November 2010
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Unbelievable. The company wanted to hush it up? I will never buy computers from them again.

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:48am on 29 November 2010
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This is terrible!! I am dealing with the same thing and its funny how everyone says they will help you and they never do! I also am fighting a battle like this and it is so unfair that no one sees someone who is not connected or has no money! Its sick that people think that this is ok! I will fight to the end and one day know I have stood up even if alone and a nobody! Do people realise what this does to a person? :(

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:45am on 29 November 2010
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TYPICAL CASE OF THE LAW SIDING WITH THE CRIMINAL. ''WELL CONNECTED'' - WHAT RUBBISH! WHY SHOULD THEY BE TREATED AS IF THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW. THESE SO CALLED ''WELL CONNECTED'' PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE TREATED ANY DIFFERENT TO THE REST OF US. GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STOP PROTECTING THESE SO CALLED ''WELL CONNECTED'' PEOPLE. I AGREE, ''NAME AND SHAME THE MAN IN CASES LIKE THIS''.

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:41am on 29 November 2010
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This is terrible!! I am dealing with the same thing and its funny how everyone says they will help you and they never do! I also am fighting a battle like this and it is so unfair that no one sees someone who is not connected or has no money! Its sick that people think that this is ok! I will fight to the end and one day know I have stood up even if alone and a nobody! Do people realise what this does to a person? :(

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nic, wrote

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10:38am on 29 November 2010
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I was once told too by my female manager that it is a man's world and not to bother about the newly promoted manager who was harrassing me ie speaking out about the issue. I dealt with it head on and it was found that this man had been harassing several others. I demanded a letter of apology in writing.He gave one. One of the partners in the company tried to prevent that letter from being written but I insisted on having per my father's instructions. The partner told me that this was the office and that my father could not get involved. I told him that it did not matter where I was - that my father would always be there. Prior to this meeting the perpetrator even taunted me saying what proof have you got. You dont need to worry about that - what counts is that you speak out until you are heard or even go to the police if the most senior in your office is not doing anything about it. When someone does not take no for an answer toward his advannces and continues - there and then you can bring forward this concern before it escalates.

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Hard Courage, wrote

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10:25am on 29 November 2010
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The company's contact was utterly disgraceful. Sahara Computers - owned by the Guptas - friends of you know who. No surprise to find 'well connected' creeps working there who think women are there to bend over, and who claim that this kind of behaviour is part of their 'culture'. How can we act? a) boycott Sahara products, b) insist on the naming and shaming of the offender, c) target his current employer

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Point Blank, wrote

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10:21am on 29 November 2010
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Sexual harrasment is for white people only - eish.

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