According to data from the 2016 Women’s Health Survey of Jamaica, one in every four Jamaican women reported being sexually harassed during their lifetime. Sexual harassment is described as conduct or statements of a sexual nature directed at another person whether orally or in writing. Persons can face harassment from partners, friends, relatives, employers, employees, acquaintances, business associates and/or strangers.
The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has introduced the Sexual Harassment (Protection and Prevention) Act, 2021, which aims to protect all its citizens in the workplace, while renting property, conducting business or in any other daily interactions.
Sexual Harassment (Protection and Prevention) Act, 2021 Overview
The act stipulates a system of redress for anyone who has experienced sexual harassment.
Main Features of the Act
- Prospective employers must not suggest to applicants that their ability to get the job is dependent on them engaging in or tolerating any form of sexual conduct.
- Employers must make every reasonable effort to ensure the safety of their employees by forming a policy statement and compiling a register in which events of reported sexual harassment are recorded.
- Employees must not be forced to accept working conditions that depend on accepting or tolerating sexual advances from their employers or supervisors.
- Employees who have experienced any incidents of sexual harassment must be able to report them without being discriminated against by their employers.
- Clients must not be sexually harassed by employers or employees while conducting business.
Anyone providing accommodations must not sexually harass those to whom they provide lodging or suggest that they must tolerate sexual advances to get preferential treatment.
- No student, ward, resident, inmate, patient or any member of an institution should sexually harass one of his or her peers.
- Members of staff or persons in a position of authority are not expected to sexually harass any student, resident, ward, inmate, patient or other member of staff.
What Should You do if You Have Been Sexually Harassed?
- If the harassment took place at work, inform the Human Resources Manager. However, if it is not adequately addressed, report the incident to the police.
- If the harassment takes place outside of your place of employment, report the matter to the police who will inform you of the legal steps to take including contacting the tribunal
- Get counselling. The Victim Services Unit at the Ministry of Justice currently provides free online and in-person counselling sessions for any victims of a crime including sexual harassment.
For additional information, contact:
Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport
4-6 Trafalgar Road
The Ministry of Justice
Victim Support Unit
47E Old Hope Road
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