www Labour Protect








The labour law can assist you if you are being harassed at work. Harassment of any kind is in no one’s interest and should not be tolerated at the workplace.  Each individual should be treated with dignity and respect at work.  The right to be free of harassment in the workplace is protected by law.  Harassment is recognised as unfair discrimination.

What constitutes harassment in the workplace?

Harassment in the workplace arises out of an incident, which has affected an individual at work, that is unwelcome, unwanted and has a destructive effect.  In terms of the labour law examples of harassment are-

  • Bullying;

  • Spreading malicious rumors, or insulting someone, particular on gender, race or disability grounds;

  • Ridiculing or degrading someone – picking on them or setting them up to fail;

  • Exclusion or victimization;

  • Unfair treatment, for example based on race, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, disability, religion, HIV status, etc (this type of harassment/discrimination is prohibited in terms of the legislation);

  • Overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position;

  • Unwelcome sexual advances- touching, standing too close and displaying of offensive material;

  • Making threats/ comments about job security without foundation;

  • Deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism;

  • Preventing individuals progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities.

Good practice for an employer:

Employers have a duty to protect their workers from harassment and to inform and educate them about the issues.  Employers are encouraged to develop a code of conduct on harassment.  This should be done in consultation with both the employees and employee representatives, if applicable.

Why the law considers harassment as a problem in the workplace:

Harassment is not only unacceptable on moral grounds but may create problems for an organisation.  It should be addressed as it may -

  • constitute a violation of human rights;

  • lead to poor employee morale;

  • lead to poor employer/employee or employee/employee relations;

  • threaten the physical and psychological health of the employee;

  • affect the productivity and performance of employees;

  • lead to other unfortunate symptoms in the workplace including unexplained absenteeism, late coming and poor concentration at work;

  • created a hostile intimidating and offensive work environment;

  • lead to loss in workplace effectiveness and productivity;

  • lead to competent employees resigning.

 What to do in the face of harassment in the workplace:

  • Keep a record of all incidents; taking notes of dates and times, potential witnesses and details of what took place.

  • Verbally confront the harasser.  In the first instance react informally and speak to the harasser directly.  If possible take a witness with you. 

  • If this does not rectify the situation, you could secondly make a formal complaint following the normal complaint/ grievance procedure set up in the workplace.  Report the matter to the appropriate person at work.

  • If you are a member of a union or employee’s association, contact your shop steward or representative;

  • If you are not a union member, contact the company’s Human Resources Manager or someone else in a position of authority, like your Supervisor or Senior Manger.

  • If you work in a small business, and the above options are not open to you, contact the CCMA for assistance regarding your rights in terms of the labour laws.  Once the case has been reported, the company management (or union) should investigate the case.  Usually there will be a disciplinary inquiry to establish the facts.  This will give the adjudicator the opportunity to hear both sides of the story and decide on the appropriate disciplinary measures for the harasser. 

 Information contained herein in is based on documentation available from the CCMA.   

>> Labour Law

>>  useful links

>>  advice

>>  unfair discrimination

>>  fair discrimination

>>  formal grievance procedure

>>  sexual harassment


(c) Bridge Marketing 2000-2010 All right are hereby reserved.

The information provided on this site is subject to Labour Protect's standard "Terms of Use" and is to be used strictly in conjunction with the further advice of a professional labour expert or attorney.  By using this site, the user agrees that Labour Protect shall not be liable for any damages that may arise from any cause whatsoever.

Live chat by SightMax

For employers:

 |National Assistance: 0860 LABOUR/ 0860 522687

Click on the arrow below and see what we can do for you...





To join...
 (the Membership Fee is only R85pm):

Home About us Assistance FAQ Contact us JOIN NOW!
Rollover Button by v5.7