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HRMATT endorses sexual harassment policy

Published: 
Sunday, June 24, 2018
Sarah Arneaud, left, HRMATT secretary, with Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, Minister of Labour, and Maxine Attong, HRMATT president.

The Board of the Human Resource Management Association of T&To (HRMATT) has publicly endorsed the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development’s initiative in creating the National Draft Policy on Sexual Harassment in the workplace.

In a statement, HRMATT said: “We applaud Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus for her courageous introduction of this ground breaking policy into the national agenda. We believe that when this Draft Policy is finalised and enacted into law it will result in a cultural shift within organisations. We have no doubt that these cultural shifts will redound to the wider T&T national culture.

“Sexual harassment policies naturally fit into good Corporate Governance. Under this umbrella, it becomes one of the rules, or policies or procedures by which a company governs behaviours with and among its various stakeholders. The policy will impact company culture, the tone of the organisation, risk management and crises management. The policy will also be embedded within an organisation’s code of ethics, which sends a clear signal about what is acceptable and not in each company.

“In the long term, when the legislation is in place, HRMATT predicts that sexual harassment will be an agenda item at Corporate Board meetings. The legal implications, the reputational risk, and the associated costs means that any not treating with allegations or situations of sexual harassment will negatively impact on the company’s bottom line.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace has long been a silent issue that HRAMTT has not openly spoken about but one which we believe has negative impacts on the workforce.

“Maxine Attong, HRMATT President, who shared her experience of sexual harassment in her weekly blog explains, “Since I shared my me-too story both men and women have reached out to me to share their stories of harassment, not all of which had a clear sexual intention.”

“Based on these conversations HRMATT is asking the ministry to also consider the need for a wider Harassment Policy under which the Sexual Harassment Policy will reside. That being said we believe that the Draft Policy on Sexual Harassment is a good place to start.

“Human Resource professionals will have a critical role to play in the implementation and the monitoring of the policy, the receipt of complaints and maintaining the relevant records.

“To begin sensitising our members and the wider corporate T&T to the Draft Policy on Sexual Harassment we will be hosting a breakfast seminar with the T&T Chamber of Commerce in July 2018.”

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