Maintaining a register is one of the critical components of The Sexual Harassment (Protection and Prevention) Act, 2021, which took effect on July 3.
Section 8 outlines that employers and institution heads should keep a register with the details of every sexual harassment claim that has been lodged.
Information contained in the register will be crucial to the work of the Tribunal, which is responsible for hearing sexual harassment cases.
The Tribunal will hear and determine the veracity of complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace and other institutions and will adjudicate on complaints by a worker of the employer’s failure to act on such complaints.
Sexual harassment consultant, Danny Roberts, told JIS News that each report in the register must include the name of the parties to the claim, date, time, particulars of the incident and any action taken by the employer or institution head.
He explained that employers and institution heads have a responsibility to protect the information contained in the register by ensuring that it is kept in a secure manner and that confidentiality is preserved.
“If it is required by the Tribunal, then it would have to be revealed to them, and any other revelation of that information would be under strict and confidential procedures,” Roberts said.
Disclosures can also be made to a party to the sexual harassment claim upon request by the Tribunal.
However, a person who intentionally or recklessly discloses information contained in the register can be fined up to $500,000 or be subject to imprisonment not exceeding one month.
Section 8 (6) notes that the information in the register shall be kept for a period of eight years.
Roberts shared that the register can be stored electronically or in physical files.
The legislation addresses concerns about sexual harassment that are employment-related, occurring in institutions, or arising in the landlord and tenant relationship.
It contains provisions for dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace, schools, correctional institutions, places of safety, nursing homes, and medical and psychiatric facilities, among other places.