‘Protecting workers from sexual harassment fundamental to human rights’—trade unionist

Danny Roberts

Head of the Hugh Shearer Labour Studies Institute at the University of the West Indies Open Campus, Danny Roberts, says Jamaican workers have an inalienable right to work in a safe environment that is free from sexual harassment and discrimination.

Roberts—whose comment came at a recent ethics symposium hosted by the Consultant Physicians of Jamaica—stressed that at the heart of the issue must be the emphasis of the social partners in promoting dignity and respect among all categories of workers.

Roberts said that protecting workers from sexual harassment is a fundamental human right issue. He said employers are legally liable to protect their workers by taking all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring

He said sexual harassment negatively impacts not only victims but organisations and society. He pointed to the psychological suffering, behavioural changes, stress-related physical and mental illnesses and missed career opportunities that victims face when they have been sexually harassed. Roberts said that while the sexual harassment bill now before Parliament contemplates the development of policies to combat sexual harassment, training on sexual harassment should be promoted and encouraged in the workplace.