No more sex jokes

New harassment bill covers suggestive words and gestures

Government today introduced new legislation in the Senate with a view to stamping out sexual harassment in the workplace.

In piloting the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Bill, 2017 in the Upper House earlier today,  Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo said Barbadians “have to have the right to work without fear of molestation, harassment [or] fear of any kind in the workplace”.

Stating that she knows of older women, men and young people who complain of sexual harassment in the workplace, Byer-Suckoo said, “we have to be able to say to them by virtue of this legislation, it stops now”.

She explained that under the Bill, the “use of sexually suggestive words, comments, jokes, gestures or actions that annoy, alarm or abuse a person” may be considered sexual harassment, so too “the initiation of uninvited physical contact with a person; the initiation of unwelcome sexual advances or the requests of sexual favours from a person; asking a person intrusive questions that are of a sexual nature that pertain to that person’s private life; transmitting sexually offensive writing or material of any kind; making sexually offensive telephone calls to a person; or any other sexually suggestive conduct of an offensive nature”.

Byer-Suckoo explained the legislation was gender neutral and therefore “does not presuppose that the perpetrator is a man and the victim is a woman, but allows for those occasions where either could be the victim and either could be the perpetrator”.

She however hastened to add that the proposed law was not an opening for regulations making homosexuality legal.

“There is concern when we say gender neutral, when I speak to harassment of the vulnerable groups such as women, homosexual men, and lesbians  . . . that I would hear in the public domain this is opening up the door to legalizing homosexuality.

“That is not the aim of this legislation. That is not what this legislation is doing,” she emphasized.

The Minister of Labour did, however, say that there were other pieces of legislation in the pipeline and among them was one on anti-discrimination, “coming right after this one to address . . . discrimination on the basis of gender”.

She explained that that bill would resemble the one on sexual harassment currently before the Senate but would also deal with, among other things, “discrimination on the basis of race and nationality because we do have persons of other nationalities and other races in workplaces”.

The Sexual Harassment Bill allows persons to confidentially lodge complaints with the Chief Labour Officer, which are to be subjected to mediation, before they are referred on to a tribunal if such arbitration fails.

Tribunal proceedings will be held ‘in camera’ and in cases where sexual harassment is proven compensation can be ordered for the victim.

In cases of dismissal, action including reinstatement may be taken as allowed in the Employment Rights Act.

15 Responses to No more sex jokes

  1. John Boost
    John Boost October 11, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Well you got bajan people brek so they don’t have money for.buying sex now you add fuel in the fire by saying no sex jokes

  2. Tony Webster October 12, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Yesterday, at least three women gave me a funny look…and I definitely felt uncomfortable , threatened , and even a bit confused: which one?
    Logical conclusion: New law needed to protect us men, Luv!

    Hmmm…. OK…if you insist….no joke.

  3. Yvonne Sealy
    Yvonne Sealy October 12, 2017 at 6:10 am


  4. harry turnover October 12, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Hope it is not for women only because women make sex jokes about men who are within earshot too.
    ….but the men en gine complain.When as a youngster at work,one of my female colleagues squeezed my crotch …BUT ..when I said I wanted to do the same…she said NO NO NO…you tink I complained about that ? or when another squeezed my buttocks ?
    Man that was a queue for follow ups and follow up I did …only made lifr easier for me.

    • Leroy October 12, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Lol, we all know most cases will be men being hauled before a tribunal and not the other way around.

      One question tho,,with such communications as whatsappa and fb ect,,if an employee messages me at night outside of working hours a sexually seductive message,,can this be deemed workplace sexual harassment?

  5. roger headley October 12, 2017 at 8:58 am

    I welcome this Bill but like all Bills in Barbados, it will probably just be a nicely worded document sitting on a shelf. Now when I “confidentially lodge complaints with the Chief Labour Officer, which are to be subjected to mediation, before they are referred on to a tribunal if such arbitration fails” – how long will I have to wait to have my case heard.

    I have some women here wearing the tightest skirts showing off nice rounded tushes and low cleavages – oh man – and I cant function professionally…. But I digress. But then again, Is this not a form of sexual harassment?

    • Leroy October 12, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Lol,,you better dont slip and make any graphic mention of their attire or cleavage in earshot of any of them especially if a rouse out for ya..

      are such words “darling”, “baby”, “honey”, “suga” to be left out the office vocabulary for fear of someone misconstruing them?

  6. Milli Watt October 12, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I can’t till the first case call, so much wrong with this place, she can’t get the ERT to work, industrial unrest every week and when she choose she gives the business a free ride now this. On top of all this she on the cards to run in the next election ssttuuupppsseeeee

  7. Chris October 12, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I have worked in the Barbados work force from the time I was 17 years old. I’m now 41. I’ve worked at one of the biggest companies in Barbados for over 10 years, 3 of the most popular restaurants on the island and I’m now the general manager of a successful tour company….. I have to say that in every job I had ‘sex’ talk, sexual harassment, indecent exposure, staff fraternizing and having kids (only for the relationship to fizzle) is extraordinary high and has been going on for many many years..This is not a NEW thing… With the introduction of smart phones with cameras and video cameras more is coming to light…. We live in a society where when a woman passes a man or a group of men 90% of the time the men have to turn around when they pass to look at her rear end so they can ‘imagine’ what they would like… This is a disgusting habit and thinking that flows into every echelon of society… Including schools and transportation for school children where we have seen countless, lewd behavior…. If “I” personally had to report everytime I was grabbed in the crotch or saw and heard some staff saying certain things to other staff members I would not be where I am today as I would have surely spent hours upon hours of complaining of filing reports… YES , it IS that bad !! It goes so far that staff harass not just their peers but their customers… I’m sure you have seen it…. I don’t see much change as I believe this is engrained into the psyche of ALOT of fellow Barbadians…. What is said and done on a daily basis here would definitely consider sexual harassment in any other country – Ive had the experience to work in the UK, USA and Germany and nothing comes close! I guess we are all accustomed to the usual ‘lotta long talk’ but little to zero action and I fear this is just another point in time, point in reporting that will be forgotten by November…. Conclusion and advice : MEN- when a woman walks by, don’t turn around and ogle and tell them what you would like to do to their private parts.. that is animalistic behavior !! I’d say I know quite a few that would probably be considered sexual predators… One ‘politican’ intact that everyone knows loved to come into a restaurant I was a waiter at with a ‘new young girl’ most of the time and when he was alone the talk he would give my fellow waitresses had them cringing…ugh..aweful and I remember…. Women : REPORT REPORT REPORT you do not deserve this. You are someones daughter, mother, aunt, grandmother and you deserve to be treated with respect… Many of you are fearful and that is completely understandable cause you doubt the ones above you will do NOTHING to resolve the issues… and for that I apologize…

  8. archy perch October 12, 2017 at 11:02 am

    It is ironic that this sexual harrassment Bill is coming soon.
    It will tie the hands and lips of many opposition perverts, already known for their shenanigans. They will be very very angry at Dr. Suckoo and the DLP, so I expect them to shoot a ton of bovine scatology splattering the fine clean walls of Parliament. It is going to be good armchair listening though, when Mia gets to speak on this Bill; when Gline Clarke gets his turn; and Sutherland – who seems to be stuck to Mia’s hip. I already got my popcorn. LOL

  9. Omar Watson October 12, 2017 at 11:36 am

    But but but I like getting harassed. Well except for when the men do it… Unless they’re cute.

  10. straight talk October 12, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    A new way for women to earn extra cash to pay for their cars, pay their rent, mortgages, and utility bills.

  11. Georgeous October 12, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Need to look into the harassment on the internet too. Example the many sex videos on apps like Whatsapp etc. which are being sent around to both men and women on a daily basis.

  12. Belfast October 12, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Since Prostitution is not legal in Barbados, could an operator on Bush Hill file a complaint of sexual harassment against a punter, which may yield a bigger dividend?

  13. Ossie Moore October 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Lord Mek Peace in de cane ground!! call Charma!! Murda!! Mah belly!!


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