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In the case of University of Cape Town v CCMA, Everett and Employee – (Case no: C14/2019 18 January 2021) LC a senior lecturer had been charged, and subsequently dismissed, for sexual harassment. The complainant testified that the employee “gazed” at her and complimented her on her clothes and appearance. He also wanted to take photos of her.

A number of other women gave evidence at the arbitration as well. He denied harassing anyone.
The Commissioner found that the conduct was not of a sexual nature. The Commissioner concluded that her perception that he sexually harassed her was unreasonable.

The employee was awarded six months compensation.

On review, the Labour Court (LC) was critical of the views expressed by the Commissioner. The LC considered that she was a 24-year-old student intern, and he was a 56-year-old senior staff member.

In the Court’s view, had the Commissioner properly considered the Codes on sexual harassment in the workplace, she would have found that the employee’s conduct was sexual in nature and on the facts was unwelcome and inappropriate.

The dismissal was found to be fair and justifiable.

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