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Special Procedures for Workplace Sexual Harassment Cases

Drafters should include provisions that reduce the burden on victims of sexual harassment as much as possible in bringing claims. For example, including a provision for victims to request that a female investigator work on their case can make victims more comfortable discussing their claim. Allowing for class action suits, where a small group of named individuals bring a claim on behalf of a group that is similarly situated, may also provide some anonymity for victims who would otherwise be unwilling to bring claims. For example, South African law specifically provides for class action, in para. 20(1)(c) of its Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2000. Several other countries, including Australia, Israel, and Sweden allow trade unions and other employee organizations to bring claims on behalf of their members.

Employment Qualification & Licensing

Laws should also ensure that sexual harassment in the context of professional licensing or qualification is prohibited. This may be covered in laws regarding the provision of goods and services or in laws related to employment-based harassment. The United Kingdom’s new Equality Law, for example, specifically addresses harassment in the context of entities that can “confer relevant qualifications.” (See: Equality Law, secs. 91-92) Mauritius’ law also prohibits sexual harassment “in relation to the conferment, renewal, extension, revocation or withdrawal of an authorisation or qualification” required for professional or trade work. (See: Equal Opportunities Act (2008), Art. 26(5))