111 Byer-Sukoo: Sexual harassment laws coming | Barbados Today

Byer-Sukoo: Sexual harassment laws coming

Legislation forbidding sexual harassment in the workplace is to be introduced before the next general election due early next year, according to Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo.

Addressing a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) meeting at the George Lamming School Sunday evening, Byer-Suckoo said the problem was widespread, and affected the old and young, and both male and female workers.

Therefore, she said, a Sexual Harassment Bill was its way to deter the practice.

“It is a little bit controversial still, but this is a story I am working to make sure that we can tell before the bell rings [elections].

“There are too many people in this country, women especially, but not just women, a lot of workers in this country who are afraid to go to work because they are harassed on the job,” the Government Senator told the meeting that was advertised as ‘DLP FACTS, Conference 2’.

Byer-Suckoo emphasized that too many women, “men too, young boys, young girls” were being forced to choose between performing duties for the personal pleasure of their supervisors, or lose days off, or even promotions.

“The boss is telling them, ‘I need you to do so and so for me, and if you can’t do such and such, I ain’t sure that you going to get that day off that you want next week’, or ‘I ain’t sure about that promotion that you are supposed to get.’”

She said it was a practice that had its genesis in slavery and lamented that it continued to this day. The new legislation, she promised, would “make sure that it cannot happen, that at least in our workplaces workers are protected”.

Not for the first time, the minister also promised legislation protecting the rights of workers to enjoy their own social and religious pursuits without fear of discrimination.

“Along this vein is the anti-discrimination [legislation] that says you can’t treat a worker any old how or fire them or whatever because you don’t like the colour of their skin.

“As soon as we get this law in the next several weeks we will be saying that you can’t discriminate [against] a person based on colour, class, gender, race, political affiliation – nothing,” she said, without mentioning sexual orientation, a subject she had touched when she . had spoken of this anti-discrimination measure two years ago.

Back then, during a presentation to a Christ is the Answer Family Church discussion at Alexandra School, she had said that the law would cover, “anything, how they look, how they dress”.

“I am not sanctioning same sex unions and homosexuality, that is not what this legislation is supposed to do . . . .What this legislation is saying is that if somebody in your workplace is homosexual we should not be discriminating against them on the grounds that they homosexual.

“It is also gender neutral . . . it is the same for men as it is for women, so whether it is a man discriminating against a woman or a woman discriminating a man, it will hold,” she had said at the time.

3 Responses to Byer-Sukoo: Sexual harassment laws coming

  1. jrsmith April 11, 2017 at 4:26 am

    For the amount of time passed and hearing from this government the promises to do this , do that , try this ,try that if they had even done thing which worked , would a first achievement……
    It would be nice if the (Democratic Party) publish a list of the ministers and what they are suppose to do , just to remind us who is who…………………………………………………

    Reply
    • Jennifer April 11, 2017 at 4:35 am

      They have to look as though they are doing something or have done something seeing that they have done nothing and election is closing in like the British rail.

      Reply
  2. Ossie Moore April 11, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Well dem done know dat woman and man is now equal ? So wah foolishness dem getting on wid in de wok place! Fuh donkey ‘ears we did wok in de potato field en no man nor woman did feel no way! We leggo we jokes en laugh en ting! Lord looka life!

    Reply

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