Labour Minister Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo said it had been on the back burner since 2004, had encountered several setbacks and was still being viewed with suspicion by many men, but her ministry is pressing ahead to finalise the statute.
She sought to make it clear that males affected by sexual harassment would also be addressed by the legislation, even though females were the one largely affected.
Dr. Byer Suckoo gave her assurance that the issues raised recently by the Men’s Education Support Association were being addressed to ensure that when the legislation was passed, men would not experience any form of discrimination.
The Labour Minister further endorsed to a suggestion by outgoing President of the National Organisation of Women (NOW) Yvonne Walkes, that Government should establish a national workplace policy on sexual harassment which would provide a framework for workers’ rights and how persons should be.
“I support the call for a national workplace policy on sexual harassment. This is actually a part of the legislation as the Act also has details like who are the persons to report to, who investigates the report and what happens if there is a false report…It puts the responsibility on employers to set the policies in place and on the employees to know and observe the policy,” she noted.
Dr. Byer Suckoo also urged men to come forward and show their support for the legislation.
“I want a male champion for this legislation. Many men have come to me privately and agreed with what we are trying to do…We need people to see that it is not just a women’s issue,” she contended
(Parts of this article were written with content submitted in a Caribbean360 release)