June 1 deadline for implementation of sexual harassment policy Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

All public and private entities, and institutions are required to develop and implement their respective sexual harassment policy by the end of June 2024.

This was emphasised by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, at the opening of the new R.A. Williams Warehouse in New Brunswick Village, Spanish Town, St Catherine, on May 1.

The Sexual Harassment Protection and Prevention Act came into effect on July 3, 2023.

Specifically, the legislation addresses concerns about sexual harassment that is employment-related, occurring in institutions

“Since the law came into operation last July, the deadline for government and private-sector workplaces and institutions to develop and implement or arising in the landlord and tenant relationship. their policies is by the end of June this year. It means that every Ministry, every municipal corporation, every constituency office, every warehouse, every pharmacy, school, business and institution must have a sexual harassment workplace policy by the end of June this year,” the Minister said.

The Act contains provisions dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace, schools, correctional institutions, places of safety, nursing homes, medical and psychiatric facilities, among other places.

“Consequent on the law coming into operation, every employer and person in charge of an institution is required to issue a policy statement in writing concerning the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace or institution. Under the law, this policy must be prepared and brought to the attention of each worker, each client, each student, each resident, each ward, inmate, patient, or member, as the case may require, within 12 months of the commencement date of the law,” the Minister pointed out.

Each sexual harassment workplace policy should include definition of sexual harassment that is consistent with the Sexual Harassment Protection and Prevention Act, which is available for download online, and a statement to the effect that workers, clients, students, and other persons are entitled to an environment that is free from sexual harassment.

The policy should also state that disciplinary measures will be taken against any person under the direction of the employer or person in charge of the institution who subjects (any worker, client or student) to sexual harassment, and that due process shall be exercised in this regard.

It must outline the internal mechanisms and procedures that are available to a worker for making a complaint of sexual harassment and the resolution and settlement of the complaints; and also, a statement to the effect that the employer shall not disclose any information relating to a complainant or the circumstances of a complaint to any person except where the disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating the complaint or taking disciplinary action in relation to the complaint.

Importantly, the policy should inform the workers, clients, students, residents, wards, as the case may be, of their right to seek redress through the Tribunal on the Sexual Harassment Act.

Minister Grange noted that the Act is one of the most “significant and far-reaching pieces of legislation to affect industrial relations and our pursuit of gender equality”.

“If yours is not in place yet, I encourage you to take steps to meet the June deadline. I urge the public to take sexual harassment seriously. It is not a simple matter but rather a serious crime that affects quality of life by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. We are setting things right and will use this law to liberate those who are enduring sexual harassment,” Ms. Grange said.