On 5 December 2011, the Protection from Harassment Act (the PHA) was published in the Government Gazette. The Act came into operation on 27 April 2013. In terms of this Act, victims of harassment may apply to the Magistrate’s Court (the Court) to have a protection order issued. Such an order may be handed down against any person who engages in prohibited activities such as stalking, persistent electronic messaging, sexual harassment and any other behaviour calculated to cause psychological and/or other kinds of harm to the victim. A protection order is intended to interdict and restrain the perpetrator from engaging in the unwelcome conduct.
Harassment in the workplace is not excluded from the PHA. A harassed employee may seek to have a protection order issued against a colleague or manager. This may have a significant impact on workplace relations and the employee relations climate in the workplace.
The enactment of the PHA again stresses the importance of having internal communication channels in the workplace. Staff should be encouraged to utilise complaint or grievance procedures. Resorting to serious interventions such as obtaining a protection order against a colleague could have disastrous consequences for workplace harmony. However, this Act needs to be utilised by those persons who feel the need to make use thereof.
This Act enables all citizens to apply for a protection order at their local Magistrate’s Court without any legal representative.
For further information on any labour related matters, you can contact
W.Tel no.: 021 423 3959
Fax: 021 423 2105
Cell: 082 433 8714