If an employee has a sexual harassment issue, here is the process to report it. 

Sexual harassment may be brought to the attention of the employer by the complainant or any other person aware of the sexual harassment, for example, a friend, colleague, family member or human resources official acting on the request of the complainant, where the complainant has indicated that she/he wishes the employer to be made are of the conduct.

The grievance should be lodged with one of the following people, depending on the requirement of the complainant:

  • The complainant’s immediate supervisor.
  • A more Senior Manager.
  • The Employment Equity Representative or the Employment Equity Consultant.
  • The Human Resources Manager.

Employer obligations

When sexual harassment has been brought to the intention of the employer, the employer should –

  • Consult all relevant parties.
  • Take the necessary steps to address the complainant in accordance with this policy.
  • Take the necessary steps to eliminate sexual harassment.
  • Advise the complainant of the informal and formal procedures available to deal with the harassment as stipulated in this policy. The employee should be under no duress to accept one or the other option.
  • Offer the complainant advice, assistance and counselling or refer the complainant to an appropriate person/service provider.
  • Re-assure the complainant that she /he will not be prejudiced or victimized in their work, conditions of service or personally as a result of the complainant.

Informal Procedure

It may be sufficient for the employee concerned to have an opportunity where she/he can explain to the person engaging in the unwanted conduct that the behaviour in question is not welcome, that it offends them or makes them uncomfortable, and that it interferes with their work. In such a case the following processes are recommended:

  • The complainant could confront the offender verbally and draw her/his attention to the fact that the behaviour is unacceptable and is viewed as harassment. Such a discussion should end with a request or demand for the behaviour to be stopped. If it is stopped the matter is settled; however, if it continues, it may be more appropriate to embark upon a formal procedure.
  • The complainant can inform the offender of her/his displeasure in writing. The nature and consequences of the unacceptable behaviour must be explained clearly. If it is stopped the matter is settled; however if it continues, it may be more appropriate to embark upon a formal procedure.
  • The complainant may in respect of the clauses above request that she/her be assisted during the informal process. The Human Resources Manager, Employment Equity Representative or the Employment Equity Consultant and/or the complainant’s line manager can be approached to offer and/or delegate assistance.

Formal Procedure

 The harassment must be reported to any of the parties mentioned above.

If the complainant’s supervisor is the alleged offender, the incident should be reported to the manager to whom the alleged offender reports.

The complainant should keep a record of all the incidents that comprise the conduct complained of, objective proof thereof (if possible) and any subsequent communication about the conduct complained of.

The complainant must write a confidential letter to any of the parties mentioned above, stating:

  • The nature of the conduct
  • The name of the perpetrator
  • The date/s of the conduct
  • Witnesses that can testify (if any)
  • The name of the complainant

The recipient of the complaint must investigate the complaint thoroughly, objectively and without delay. This entails conducting interviews with:

  • The alleged perpetrator
  • The complainant
  • All witnesses

The recipient of the complaint may refer or delegate the investigation responsibility to a more qualified person or to a person who has the required capacity to deal with the issue at hand.

  • A meeting must be scheduled with all parties involved in the matter.
  • Each party is entitled to a representative.
  • An objective evaluation of the gathered evidence must then be made.
  • Disciplinary action must be taken if a prima facie case of sexual harassment is established in accordance with the Company’s disciplinary procedures.

Disciplinary Action

Offenders must be sanctioned in relation to the severity of the offence. Serious incidents of sexual harassment or continued harassment after warnings are dismissible offences.

If the case is not resolved satisfactorily by the internal procedures, either party may within 30 (THIRTY) days of the dispute having arisen, refer the matter to the CCMA for conciliation.


For more information on labour law advice or services. Please feel free to contact us at Cape Labour Consultants and we will gladly assist you. Cape Labour & Industrial Consultants is a Cape Town-based providing Labour Law (Industrial Relations) and advice to employers and employees across all market segments and industries since 1987.

For more information or to Contact Cape Labour. You can find all of our relevant details here.

W.Tel no.: 021-423-3959