Costly sex 'jokes' .. People to pay for sexual harrassment

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December 11, 2015
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller

Making unwelcome sexual gestures or showing images or objects of a sexual nature to a co-worker could cost your dearly.

A sexual harassment bill, tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, is seeking to outlaw sexual intimidation, coercion, and pestering in the workplace, institutions, and in landlord-tenant relationships.

The proposed legislation frowns upon unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature and provides a framework for offenders to pay civil damages in court to persons whose feelings have been injured or who have suffered humiliation as a result of sexual harassment.

The making of sexually coloured remarks, sexual advances, or sexual suggestions or innuendos to a coworker, a person in an institution, or by a landlord to a tenant, could constitute sexual harassment.

Sexual advances such as a demand or request for sex or favours of a sexual nature are to be prohibited within the workplace or institutions if the bill becomes law.

Sexual harassment is defined in the bill as the making of any sexual advancement towards a person, by another person, which is reasonably regarded as unwelcome, offensive, or humiliating by the person towards whom the advancement is made.

The bill proposes that a Sexual Harassment Division be created at the Industrial Disputes Tribunal to hear cases of harassment brought by an employer or a worker.

The tribunal, after an investigation, can direct that the offending party pay damages by way of compensation for any loss or damage suffered by reason of the conduct of the respondent.

In making an award, the tribunal may take into consideration injury to the complainant's feelings or humiliation suffered by the complainant.

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