Draft capstone paper
Topic: “workplace harassment: a case study on harassment against women at workplace in Uganda
The term “sexual harassment” was first coined after more than four decades to define unwanted, hostile behaviours of harassment based on one’s sex. Sexual harassment in the workplace remains a severe, widespread, and disturbingly problem that is still unresolved. Even nearly half the workforce is comprised of women, the bitter reality is that nearly in every sector of the economy sexual harassment persists, from male-dominated to female-dominated organizations, and from low-wage and precarious jobs to professions that are high-wage. Currently, where women pass through the practical life and the world realms now can at last exercise the presence of law against sexual harassment at workplace, even then the vulnerability of females to this offensive issue has increased manifold. Primarily this is because women are entering in practical life more than ever in result women are largely a step ahead of males in their pursuit of workplace and education. The system of the workplace today in Uganda has developed as an outcome of the developing laws that have been established by Parliament which have supported and modernized the operation of the workplace. From the time of recruitment up to the time when the employer-employee relationship is abandoned or terminated, these laws have laid down clear guidelines governing employment stretching. Moreover, the aims of most of these laws are protecting the position as well as the status of the worker against any possible harassment that may develop out of this relationship. Nevertheless, the progress brought forward by these legislations, there has been a constant recurrence of certain abusive practices in the workplace that have frustrated and affected its progress and of interest to this study are the abusive acts of sexual harassment
Background of the study
The predominant social setup, the patriarchal system limits males to involvement in inhuman, unethical and immoral acts against women and provides them with the privilege to deliberately disprove the occurrence of these chauvinisms and prejudices that almost experienced by every woman at some point in their life. Particularly speaking about the harassment at the workplace, even if victims recognize that they are being harassed, they lack the confidence and resources to stand against diverse forms of sexual harassment occurrences they go through. In many conservative and male-dominated societies such as societies in third world countries like African country as Uganda, females tend to remain silent on the harassment they face because they fear that in the society their image will be ruined and that their own family members will discourage them from working in the organization. The issue of sexual harassment isn’t something that just takes place because of transient circumstance or desire. It takes place in all sectors because of the imbalances in power. In all sectors of the economy, men hold far more positions of power. Even in the fields where females are dominated, men are more likely to be principals, supervisors, and managers. In all fields, racism adds another coating to systemic imbalances of power. To any professional working environment, employee safety and protection is considered paramount and thus in many company safety, health and security policies are incorporated with the objective of generating a free, peaceful and healthy environment of working for workers in Uganda. Sexual harassment is one of the leading and unresolved threat affecting the safety, security and development of employees in the conduct of their obligations of employment. Both at the national and international level, sexual harassment has been widely discussed and that is why it is considered a significant problem acknowledged in employment. As a practice sexual harassment is considered to be centuries old and no doubt that is, from the slave trade period in native America where slave women were being exposed to abusive sexual practices by their masters and overseers. Such abusive sexual practices were seen as a deep-rooted feature of chattel slavery suffered by African-American females without law protection. To women who worked in the domestic service that is households as well as those who managed to work in the manufacturing and clerical positions at this time, this practice was later extended and applied in the 19th century. During this time reasons for such acts were suggested by the Americans. They made responsible on women themselves for women’s sexual predicament; that as slaves and domestic servants both. Because they were promiscuous by nature they were judged responsible for their own predicament. Until the 1970s when feminist lawyers, Catherine Mackinnon, Lin Farley among others represented women in and out of court this led to public discussions of women’s vulnerability to coerced relations at work which continued. The practice of sexual harassment in America they were able to establish a strong movement against. The pressure and demands by these movements allow the American legal system to modify slowly and transformed its laws and for the first time in 1970, women’s right to work in a working environment that’s free from unwanted sexual practices was recognized. These legislations were later embraced and incorporated in other legal systems worldwide including Uganda.
Statement of the problem
In Uganda, to prevent sexual harassment both national and international legislation has been enforced. These legislations prohibit sexual harassment and these involved enacting specific laws against its practice, imposing duties as well as making liable the employers for any abusive act against workers, providing guidance to the employers to make design anti-sexual harassment policies and developing enforcement procedures against any harassment act claims by the victim. Even after such legal measures harassment is at its peak at workplaces creating hostile working environments especially for females. Furthermore, victims lack the necessary support and assistance required in case it is committed against them. Additionally, from both employers and employees, there has been insufficient compliance to the laws regulating sexual harassment in as far as concerned adherence. This has encouraged its practice as a result allowed many of its culprits to escape scot-free hence pushing most of its victims in denial. Current national laws on sexual harassment at workplaces are considered unreliable.
The objective of the study
To study the effectiveness of the laws established to eradicate and prohibit sexual harassment side by side investigate the amount of compliance to these legislations by employers and authorities of Uganda at large.
1. Examine the nature of sexual harassment against women at the workplace.
2. Examine what factors influence sexual harassment against women.
3. Establish the influence of the laws on sexual harassment against women.
4. Assess the amount of compliance with the laws.
5. Contribute recommendations to the existing laws.
1. What is the nature of sexual harassment against women at the workplace?
2. What factors influence sexual harassment against women?
3. What is the influence of the laws on sexual harassment against women?
4. What is the amount of compliance with the laws?
5. What recommendations can contribute to the existing laws?
To collect data and information for this study the methods and procedure are through the Qualitative and Quantitative approach means mixed-method approach. For qualitative, to enable the researcher to engage the subjects/respondents of the research freely the study uses interviews. The selection of this approach is grounded on the fact that it is flexible, effective, efficient and easy to manage. In a very short time, interviews will help to collect a rich source of information and will also support understanding, explaining, and exploring the issue being examined without boundaries. To facilitate the collection of data the questions involved are also usually open-minded. For quantitative, to help to find independent the study seeks to invoke sampling as a survey mechanism, from the subjects/respondents of the research hard to find and hidden information.
Scope of the study
The emphasis of the study is on investigating the nature of sexual harassment against women and factors influencing the sexual harassment against women as well as determining the effectiveness of the legislation put in place against the practice of sexual harassment, and measuring the amount of compliance given to these laws and regulations by employers and authorities of Uganda at large.
Limitations of the study
The study is limited to sexual harassment at workplaces in Uganda.
This portion of the study is aimed at reviewing the prevailing literature put forward by different scholars, journalists and writers on sexual harassment in workplace.
In employment sexual harassment is a widely discussed topic and many scholars agree that in workplaces it is one of the leading hazards encountered around the world. To the performance of work the impact created by sexual harassment is quite unforgiving as it has hostile effects that not only affect the victim physically but also disturbs the relationship of employer-employee. Until 2006, by the relevant legal authorities the issue of sexual harassment had never been given much attention but because of the increasing cases on the subject, to forge a law that would provide guidance on the matter structures were put in place. This was due to the effect that’s damaging and it caused humiliation to most victims in Uganda.
Muzaffar Syah in her journal, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: An Overview over the International Law and Current Law and Practice in Malaysia, says that sexual harassment in the workplace pollutes the environment of the work and no doubt that it has devastating and disturbing effect upon the health, morale, confidence, and performance of those affected by it in the workplace. By sexual harassment in the workplace the anxiety and stress produced may lead to those subjected to it taking off time from work due to sickness, depression, tension and stress, being less efficient and active at work or leaving their work entirely to seek work elsewhere Dr. (Mallow, 2013). Dr. Muzaffar deespite her elaborate discussion on the subject, in her article fails to identify in cases way forward for the victim parties where acts of sexual harassment arise in their employment course. On how a matter related to the subject should be addressed in line with the existing laws moving forward this study will make proposals.
The notion of sexual harassment is quite devastating and the chances of successfully eroding it totally from practice are minimal current studies show that. Despite this, towards achieving solutions attempts and measures have still been laid and to identify the root cause behind this practice one of these has been trying. On Vicarious liability for sexual harassment according to an interesting study made by Arthurnatious Muzuva, says on the achievement and enjoyment of the right to equality of opportunity and treatment in the workplace the sexual workplace hazards that impinges, defeats the right of workers to work decently. She in dealing with this point in her study largely centers on the International Labor Organization Convention on Discrimination for the promotion of equality of opportunity and treatment in the workplace. Towards the elimination of discrimination through the ILO her discussion shows the important role played by equality. As constituting discrimination based on sex Sexual Harassment has been categorized that is contrary to Article 21 of the Uganda Constitution, 1995 which appeals for equality for all. While this study may subscribe to the findings of Mogapesi Tshepo, on the subject a wider analysis of laws shall be taken place with more emphasis on the legislative framework in Uganda and this shall also include gaps in existing the laws as well deliver recommendations moving forward. For a review of the international legislations consideration shall also be made related to the subject.