THE Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), in a proactive effort to create safer and more inclusive workplaces, has in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), developed and sensitized employers on a guide to preventing and addressing Violence and Harassment at the workplace. At a workshop held in Accra, the Association empowered employers with the knowledge and strategies to enable them tackle workplace violence and harassment head-on.
Speaking at the capacity-building workshop, Ms Bernice Sam, a Lawyer and expert in gender diversity and inclusion advised employers to put in place comprehensive policies and systems that frown upon violence and harassment including sexual harassment in their organisations. She further emphasized that employers had a responsibility under the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) to inform their employees and to clearly spell out the acts that constitute violence and harassment.
She also admonished employers to create the opportunity and atmosphere for staff to be able to report to management when they encounter any form of violence or harassment. According to Ms. Sam, “When an individual is slapped, it is easy for the victim to report the matter to the Human Resource (HR) department but when it is sexual harassment then there are all sorts of underlying considerations, including the fear of losing one’s job, fear of stigmatization, victimization and fear of being taken off a schedule and all sorts of worries that victims have to deal with,”
Highlighting the need for employers to prioritize the fight against violence and harassment at work, Mr Kingsley Laar, an Economist and Researcher with GEA emphasized that in today’s competitive business landscape, addressing workplace violence and harassment isn’t just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage as it improves employee well-being and productivity, mitigates legal and reputational damage, improves organizational culture, and enhance customer and client relationships, among others. According to Mr. Laar, any organization that effectively implements a policy on violence and harassment positions itself as an employer of choice, and is able to retain top talent, reduce turnover rates and recruitment costs.
About the Guide
The guide offers a comprehensive overview of the various forms of violence and harassment that can occur in the workplace, from verbal abuse to physical violence. It also highlights how to conduct risk assessments and implement measures to reduce the risk of violence and harassment, as well as effective reporting mechanisms. Most importantly, the guide includes information on relevant laws, regulations, and compliance requirements, helping employers stay on the right side of the law while protecting their workforce.
A Commitment to Change
The workshop did not only serve as a platform for employers to share their experiences and exchange ideas on how to effectively handle emerging violence and harassment-related issues at their workplaces but also empowered them to implement zero-tolerance policies against workplace violence and harassment. Participants left the workshop with a renewed sense of commitment to regularly assess, audit and evaluate their anti-violence-and-harassment policies and prevention efforts.