The South African government published a draft code of good practice on the prevention and elimination of violence and harassment in the workplace.

The draft policy, published by Labour minister Thulas Nxesi, falls under the Employment Equity Act, and covers a number of areas including sexual harassment and online bullying. The code applies to all business sectors both public and private across all regions of South Africa.

The new draft policy, which places certain obligations on employers, applies to employees during rest breaks or meal times, in the bathroom or other facilities, on work-related trips as well as work-related travel and social activities. Sexual violence and harassment is defined as “directly or indirectly engaging in conduct that the perpetrator knows or ought to know is not welcome, is offensive to the complainant and makes the complainant feel uncomfortable and interferes with work, causes harm or inspires the reasonable belief that harm may be caused to the complainant or a related person.”

In addition, Nxesi’s policy says that companies should:

  • take preventative steps to stop and eliminate harassment;
  • create prevention and awareness programs;
  • treat, care and support victims;
  • as well as monitor and evaluate practices within the organization.