‘Trial by gos­sip’ a con­cern

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Focus -

A re­searcher in an­a­lyt­ics is con­cerned about “grapevine” pros­e­cu­tion of per­sons ac­cused of sex­ual ha­rass­ment be­fore their guilt or in­no­cence is es­tab­lished.

Unri Babb made the point while speak­ing at the Elsie Payne Me­mo­rial Lec­ture, held at Queen’s Col­lege, Hus­bands, St James, on Wed­nes­day night.

Babb, along with Deputy Chief Labour Of­fi­cer Claudette Hope­greenidge and se­nior man­ager in hu­man re­sources at Sagi­cor Life, Calvin Hus­bands, were on a panel that dis­cussed Let’s Talk About Sex – The Em­ploy­ment Sex­ual Ha­rass­ment Pre­ven­tion Act 2017.

Babb didn’t make any sug­ges­tions about how to put an end to the gos­sip and in­nu­en­dos but he noted the im­por­tance of stop­ping such a breach.

“I don’t need to breach con­fi­den­tial­ity from the hu­man re­sources per­spec­tive or the su­per­vi­sor; all that has to oc­cur is that the word has to get out that Unri Babb has been ac­cused of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and the dog dead. How will I be able to re­cover? It doesn’t mat­ter what the ver­dict is be­cause the ver­dict in it­self is go­ing to be se­cret if I keep my job. It is not to say that I have not been ac­cused and ac­quit­ted or that I have ac­tu­ally ex­e­cuted this form of ha­rass­ment but the re­al­ity is, my name is go­ing to be tar­nished for­ever.

“And why I say this is be­cause I had an in­stance with a col­league of mine who had to dis­ci­pline an em­ployee and the em­ployee ac­cused her of sex­ual ha­rass­ment. Now what if that had spread through­out the en­tire or­gan­i­sa­tion? Then how does she re­cover?” he asked.

Con­front

Babb also posited the no­tion of “self­help” as a de­fence to sex­ual ha­rass­ment. He sug­gested that if a per­son felt ha­rassed they should con­front the per­pe­tra­tor in the mo­ment so as to make them aware that what they did was im­proper.

“If you don’t name it a per­son doesn’t know that it needs to cease,” he added.

In terms of sta­tis­tics, Babb, the prin­ci­pal con­sul­tant at D B Re­search, said he was dis­ap­pointed that there were no na­tional sta­tis­tics, other than anec­do­tal ev­i­dence, that the HR units have been pro­vid­ing over time that could speak to the level of such ha­rass­ment in Bar­ba­dos.

Again he ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment that af­ter checks with the Bar­ba­dos Sta­tis­ti­cal Ser­vice and the Royal Bar­ba­dos Po­lice Force, neither could in­di­cate if sex­ual ha­rass­ment was on the in­crease.

A sec­tion of the au­di­ence at the Elsie Payne Me­mo­rial Lec­ture.

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