The House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 13) passed the Sexual Harassment (Protection and Prevention) Bill.
The legislation addresses concerns about sexual harassment that is employment-related, occurring in institutions, or arising in the landlord and tenant relationship.
Closing the debate on the Bill, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the legislation was not partial to any gender.
“Men and women have, too often, unhappily recounted experiences of sexual harassment against them. It is against this background that the Bill before the House is gender neutral and seeks to protect and prevent sexual harassment against both men and women,” Ms. Grange said.
She informed that the legislation incorporates all the recommendations emanating from the Joint Select Committee, appointed to consider the Bill.
“This Bill is, therefore, new and improved. These improvements have birthed a more robust legislation,” Ms. Grange said.
To this end, the Bill provides for a fit and proper person criteria. These criteria would stand as the benchmark for all considered appointees to serve on the Sexual Harassment Tribunal.
The legislation also requires that institutions have in place a sexual harassment policy statement within 12 months of its implementation. The Bill also provides for the widening of the categories of persons that can be sexually harassed.
In addition, an employer or a person in charge of an institution has a duty to keep and maintain a confidential register of sexual harassment cases.
Such a register will detail all information relative to a sexual harassment complaint, to include the name of the parties to the sexual harassment claim, the particulars of the sexual harassment claim, the date on which the sexual harassment claim was lodged, any action taken by the employer or person in charge of an institution in relation to the sexual harassment claim, and such other particulars relating to the sexual harassment claim as may be prescribed.
The recommended time limit for the reporting of an incident of sexual harassment is six years.
The Bill, which was passed with 10 amendments, will now be sent to the Senate for its approval.