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ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment Adopted

September 5, 2019

Department of Employment and Labour

5 September 2019

The employment and labour department has called on employers to ensure that their policies are in line with the recently adopted International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on Violence and Harassment.

The Convention was adopted at the Centenary International Labour Conference on 10-21 June 2019 in Geneva.

According to the ILO, the “Convention recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work constitutes a human rights violation and a threat to equal opportunities; and is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work”.

In a statement, the department indicated that besides sexual harassment, other forms of violence and harassment include unwanted advances, comments, messages, bullying and many other actions that make the work environment unbearable.

The ILO Convention is meant to protect both men and women and applies to all sectors, whether private or public, both in the formal and informal economy.

At a recent employment equity roadshow in Durban, the department’s Employment Equity Director, Ntsoaki Mamashela, called on employers to “conduct risk assessment at your workplace and have your policies in line with the Convention and make sure that such policies protect employees against violence and harassment including third parties, that is, those who are not part of the incident but are affected.”

In the near future, employers will be required to report on the Convention.

In another statement, the department indicated that the Convention protects workers and other persons in the world of work including:

• Employees as defined by national law and practices, as well as
• Persons working irrespective of their contractual status;
• Persons in training, including interns and apprentices;
• Workers whose employment has been terminated;
• Volunteers;
• Job seekers and job applicants; and
• Individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer.