The Caswell Franklyn Column – Sexual Harassment Law is Dangerously Flawed

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

In my last column on the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Bill – The Caswell Franklyn Column – Sexual Harassment Legislation to Attract Votes NOT to Protect Vulnerable Workers, I endorsed the need for such legislation but was critical of the end result. However, after taking note of all the positive reviews, I must admit that I was having second thoughts, so much so that I went and re-read the document. I am now convinced that those who gave the bill a passing grade and I must have read different bills.

According to the Barbados Today of October 26, 2017 the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) was one of the organizations that was supportive of the legislation. Its general secretary declared that after 20 odd years of lobbying government, public servants “can breathe a sigh of relief that there is some level of protection and assurance that the public service would be free from the scourge of uncircumcised Philistines pouncing on employees….”

I was confounded by that position since, in the dying days of the Arthur Administration, Government introduced legislation that made sexual harassment an offence punishable by dismissal. The Second Schedule to the Public Service Act, The Code of Conduct and Ethics, at paragraph 22.(1) states:

“Engaging in any activity that amounts to sexual harassment is a breach of this Code which renders an officer liable to dismissal.”

I will leave readers to draw their own conclusions in respect of NUPW thanking the Minister of Labour for putting in place a law for public officers that was already in force for 10 years.

It is my view that the pressing need to have legislation against sexual harassment of workers, in the private sector and statutory boards, has clouded the minds of proponents who were lobbying for years. It would seem that they are saying bad legislation is better than no legislation. I maintain that such legislation is highly desirable but this act merely gives the illusion of protection. It is dangerously flawed and can end up hurting those that it is intended to protect.

I have already pointed out that a victim, who was unable to prove his/her case, could end up paying a fine of $10,000 plus spending two years in jail for making a false complaint. In addition, section 6 has created a situation where employees, who had been overlooked for promotion, could complain and then find themselves facing a law suit for defamation of character. Section 6.(1) states:

6.(1) Where an employer grants employment opportunities or benefits as a result of

(a) an employee’s agreement to grant sexual favours to the employer; or

(b) an employee’s agreement to grant sexual favours to a client or an employee’s supervisor,

an aggrieved employee who was denied an employment opportunity or benefit may lodge a complaint with the Chief Labour Officer and the Chief Labour Officer may take such action as he thinks necessary under section 12 to resolve the matter.

When I was a young man sexual relations between two adults were generally secret. Does it still operate like that and if so, how would a third party know that an employer and employee made a quid pro quo arrangement that would disadvantage the third party. Nowadays, are such arrangements sent around by circular or posted on notice boards? What is the standard of proof the act would require, in the event that both parties deny that there was any agreement to grant sexual favours or any sexual contact at all?

There is one aspect that the drafters of this act need to explain. Section 4 requires every employer in Barbados to have a clear written policy statement against sexual harassment. Failing to do so, the employer is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of 12 months or to both. Mind you, no one has articulated the practical benefits of having such a policy.

As far as I can see the major beneficiaries of the act in its current form would be underemployed industrial relations consultants, who would be engaged to draft these mandatory but unnecessary policy statements.

35 comments

  • Caswel
    Once again your are clutching at straws. The simple fact is that women in the workplace have been sexually harassed and there was no legislation to deal with the harassment. I daresay that men , although to a lesser degree, are also victims. However as gay rights and other changing societal norms become more pronounced and acceptable in the modern workplace, we are going to find cases where same sex harassment, would become more prevalent.
    We note the current news out of the USA where harassment now involves a heterosexual and an obviously gay or bi-sexual man preying on men.
    I find it more than passing strange that you are trying your best to convey that the legislation is simply bad without any serious in-depth analysis. For example, the legislation you quoted from ten years ago apparently deals with public servants. The mere fact that the NUPW has embraced the new legislation, should not be seen as a negative . Perhaps, the General Secretary was looking at the broader picture , where it now solidifies what was there before.
    I recall when the then government passed legislation that eliminated the term bastard, the then Dean of St. Michael Cathedral, argued that :”what god has put together let no man put asunder, as his major opposition, to children born out of wedlock having the same rights as those considered to be legitimate; then legislation giving women who had been concubines of men for a number of years, the same rights as married women was also met with opposition. We opposed seat belts in cars with the argument that in a crash, the seat belts would stop us from ‘getting out the car”. We seem to have problems with any form of progressive legislation or laws.
    I make bold to say that some men , see all forms of laws that protect women and in some cases children, as some weakening of their power. Unfortunately, some women join the men , in castigating those women who try to defend their rights when it comes to their bodies. While I think it would be grossly unfair to characterize you as such, I fear that this particular piece of legislation , seems to have presented you with some rather curious problems.

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  • Caswell

    Apologies for the incorrect spelling of your name.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    My late father-in-law always used to say, if you are going to do anything to benefit yaself and others….do it right the first time, or dont do it at all……words of wisdom.

    ……that clearly applies here.

    It is indicative and a clear sign of how these fools of parliament do everything….half way and always with an intent to punish the victims.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    You obviously misunderstood what I have written. I do not oppose legislation against sexual harassment. The act that was recently passed in both Houses of Parliament was rushed and has ended up with obvious provisions that can cause the victim irreparable damage. Please read the legislation for yourself and stop posting this partisan nonsense.

    I want this legislation to protect victims. In its current form, it does not. And I will fight until the Government gets it right. I am passionate and your foolishness will not stop me. The reason – many years ago, I was a victim of unwanted sexual advances from a prominent woman who had supervisory authority over me. When I went and complain to the permanent secretary, his response was:

    “Caswell go and f*** the woman and stop humbugging with foolishness”.

    I consulted a lawyer and he advised me to drop the matter because I would end up facing the court for defamation because of who she was. That woman made my life miserable and tried several times to get me fired. You see my dear William, this is not a political thing for me: it is personal so stop your crap.

    Like

  • A government that is unable to articulate a simple tax measure for cell phones; one for solid waste taxes; for employment rights …or even for seat belts….. DOES NOT POSSESS the intelligence to come up with a sensible legal position on something as complex as sexual harassment.

    This is just another set of shiite talk – just like Mia’s LOL (lack of LEC) – a distraction by a shiite government whose legacy will be their ugly Satanic Monument at the Garrison, and the fact that EVERYTHING that they touched turned into shiite….. King Midas in reverse – presumably that makes Froon into a king….

    King Sadim.

    Like

  • @Bushie

    You forgot to mention a biggie- the Antiquities Bill which was piloted by your man Stephen Lashley. After all these years post first reading it remains stillborn

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  • @Caswell

    Who to blame here, the members of parliament of the drafters in the CPO’s office?

    Like

  • David

    I blame Minister Suckoo. She wants to have some achievements to her name coming up to the next general elections. She well knows that such legislation would resonate among certain important sectors of the electorate and rushed to parliament with this half-baked act.

    It was talked about for a long time but the draft was not in the public domain. Something like this should have been widely circulated. She has done a disservice to this country generally and to victims of sexual harassment in particular.

    Sent from my iPad

    Like

  • There is a great debate going on in the UK, mainly involving politicians, but stretching to the media and work place in general.
    The debate has moved on from physical assault to looks and ‘brushing’ against colleagues; but the bottom line is that men should not hassle women, whether in the workplace or otherwise.
    Howwever, there is a bigger picture, especially for black men. There is an element of the witch hunt involving Hollywood and the UK parliament, but for black men we have been here before.
    Jim Crow was based on the perceived sexual attraction of black men to white women, and most Southern white men, in the mistaken belief of ‘defending’ their women, would lynch black suspects.
    I suggest that now the table has turned on white men in the work place does not mean we should take our eyes off the ball. Recently a number of women have been jailed.d for making false allegations of rape or sexual assault in the UK. This should be a warning. People should be innocent until proven guilty, no matter who they are.
    .

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  • @ Caswell
    you wrote:”The reason – many years ago, I was a victim of unwanted sexual advances from a prominent woman who had supervisory authority over me. When I went and complain to the permanent secretary, his response was:

    “Caswell go and f*** the woman and stop humbugging with foolishness”.

    I consulted a lawyer and he advised me to drop the matter because I would end up facing the court for defamation because of who she was. That woman made my life miserable and tried several times to get me fired. You see my dear William, this is not a political thing for me: it is personal so stop your crap.”

    It is obvious that your views of this particular piece of legislation has been jaundiced from day one ! You should have stood up for your rights as you often advise others to stand up for theirs. I do not think one has to be political to oppose you or anybody else. I am simply saying that your views on this are guided by the fact that you have a personal issue, which you have now clearly exposed. Your words not mine.
    You should consider counselling.

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  • Well Well @ Consequences Observing Blogger

    sexual harassment against any male, child or female is ugly and the lawmakers in parliament need to amend the weakness in this rushed piece of preelection legislation to make sure that a genuine victim of sexual assault, rape or harassment does not go to prison innocently for false claims because of the antics of lawyers and the rushed and flawed legislation.

    Like

  • Well Well @ Consequences Observing Blogger

    Fallon in UK had to resign because of his Don Juan antics many years ago. many names in UK parliament are being called as sexual predators, as they deserve, just wait until they get to the pretentious house of lords full of crap…

    nearly everyone in hollyweird is being named as a sexual predator from country to country…it has finally all come out.

    Like

  • @Hal
    Jim Crow was based on the perceived sexual attraction of black men to white women, and most Southern white men, in the mistaken belief of ‘defending’ their women, would lynch black suspects.
    +++++++++++++
    Don’t be so superficial, Jim Crow was a result of whites (especially Southern) belief of superiority over blacks, you don’t have to look far to discover the facts.

    Like

  • Sargeant,
    I am not sure of your background, but there is nothing superficial about this. An .allegation, if …true …..is … serious; but if not true there are serious repercussions. The point is that black men, mainly in the south but not exclusively, have been .targeted in this way .at historical moments. . People are innocent until proven guilty, even whit e, professional men. I believe most of these allegations are political.

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  • @Hal

    Don’t worry about my background you are a “trained” journalist I’m not. To write “Jim Crow was based on the perceived sexual attraction of black men to white women,” is disingenuous and risible. No serious commentator would be so dogmatic about that topic, in fact to focus on that perception makes you a brother in arms with your most visible nemesis on this blog (Miller) when he makes tongue in cheek remarks about the main character in the novels of Kyle Onstott and Lance Horner.

    Like

  • Sargeant,
    Was that not a central part of Jim Cr owism? How about Emmett Till and the hundreds of other black men and boys lynched by vigilantes? What is ….disingenuous about that?.

    Like

  • @ Caswell
    I was a victim of unwanted sexual advances from a prominent woman who had supervisory authority over me…
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ha ha ha
    LOL

    Yuh Lie!!!

    Unless this was before you discovered Lowdown’s goat milk???!!
    Bushie knows you Caswell!!!
    Bushie feel that you would have taken it…..

    WAIT!!!!

    ….unless it was ???????
    Haw Haw!!!

    HA HA HA!!!!
    That witch!!
    Yuh right to run hard yuh!!!!

    Like

  • @ Sargeant
    Boss, if you persist in this argument with Hal about the genesis of Jim Crow …we will demote your ass to Lance Corporal.
    Leave well enough alone nuh…!!!

    Like

  • White housewife who claimed Emmett Till, 14, ‘sexually threatened her’ so her guilty husband would be acquitted of lynching and killing him admits she lied and now feels ‘tender sorrow’ 

    @Sargeant,
    .Ignore Bush Tea, he is irrelevant. Jim Crowism was/is a portmanteau term for white supremacy; this was/is expressed in num.erous ways – education, employment, housing, etc. The discussion is about sexual harassment, one of the principal causes of lynching, .that is a shared memory of the black experience in the West..
    To now accuse another social and ethnic group of people of historical offences seems to my mind to be political. We must treat all accused as innocent until proven guilty. That is the foundation of the rule of law….
    .

    Like

  • Bushie

    I fancied myself as a hunter and it was not comfortable being the prey. You may be right, if she weren’t so aggressive maybe just maybe.

    Go ahead an demote sergeant to lance corporal, he would deserve it.

    Sent from my iPad

    Like

  • @Hal
    Was that not a central part of Jim Cr owism?
    ++++++++++
    A subtle change in the argument although “central” could be litigated, Emmitt Till was one of many blacks lynched in the USA, the others were lynched for various reasons many of which didn’t relate to lusting or “whistling” at white women. Jim Crow was based on white supremacy, the majority of Jim Crow laws were enacted after “Reconstruction”, Emmitt Till was only one of many victims.

    Like

  • To make a long story short, the genesis of Jim Crow was slavery, then to accommodate the South during the Constitution Convention of 1787 Blacks were determined to be “Three-Fifths” of a person. When Slavery was abolished there was a period called “Reconstruction” in which Blacks made many political gains e.g. electoral office to Senators etc. The opposition to the gains made by blacks during “Reconstruction” spurred the Jim Crow laws.

    You can look it up.

    @Bushie how can you demote a man more than once? Time for you to court martial me.

    @Caswell, at night all cats are gray.

    Like

  • Sargeant,
    You are being frivolous. What is the subtle change? The discussion was about sexual harassment, was it not? So, to talk about unemployment, bad housing, poor schools would be irrelevant.
    Only lynchings for alleged homicides (what we call murders) were .higher than for perceived …..sex offences.
    It has all changed now; the courts do the lynchings.

    Like

  • S/b “made many political and economic gains”

    Like

  • @Caswell

    Here is a presentation delivered by Dr. Justin Robinson for your files if you do not have it already.

    Like

  • @Hal A
    This is what you wrote and I am not parsing, “Jim Crow was based on the perceived sexual attraction of black men to white women, and most Southern white men, in the mistaken belief of ‘defending’ their women, would lynch black suspects”
    ++++++++++
    To any observer that would mean that Jim Crow laws were based solely on what white men believed was in the hearts of black men when it came to white women. When challenged you write that it was “central” and that’s where the subtlety in your argument took root. Jim Crow was many things but it wasn’t only because of any “perceived sexual attraction of black men to white women.”

    If that’s frivolous then I plead guilty.

    Like

  • There is a great debate going on in the UK, mainly involving politicians, but stretching to the media and work place in general.
    The debate has moved on from physical assault to looks and ‘brushing’ against colleagues; but the bottom line is that men should not hassle women, whether in the workplace or otherwise.
    However, there is a bigger picture, especially for black men. There is an element of the witch hunt involving Hollywood and the UK parliament, but for black men we have been here before.
    Jim Crow was based on the perceived sexual attraction of black men to white women, and most Southern white men, in the mistaken belief of ‘defending’ their women, would lynch black suspects.
    I suggest that now the table has turned on white men in the work place does not mean we should take our eyes off the ball.
    Recently a number of women have been jailed for making false allegations of rape or sexual assault in the UK. This should be a warning. People should be innocent until proven guilty, no matter who they are.

    @Sargeant,
    Context is everything. Read the entire post.

    Like

  • Thanks David.

    Sent from my iPad

    Like

  • @ Private Sargeant
    You are hopeless boss… take TWO demotions.
    A good NCO never gets into the trenches with shiite recruits like Hal.

    Court marshall shiite!
    You should be stricken with ‘Hal’itosis for allowing yourself to be drawn into that idiotic argument wit Austin. steupsss!!! can’t you see that the man is clueless…?

    @ Caswell
    Ok Boss… good decision.
    Artax would have jumped at (and on) the opportunity
    …and ended up looking ‘pop down’ all like now…
    ha ha ha

    Like

  • @ David
    The presentation by Dr Robinson of Credit Unions is worthy of a good third former.

    Coming from the Hill, however it says nothing; adds nothing; and misses the FUNDAMENTAL contribution that Credit Unions make to Barbados.

    The really sad point to note however, is his ridiculous notion that the International banking sector has been ‘good for Barbados’ because (as he explains) “Barbados emerges from most global financial benchmarking exercises with a relatively positive picture of its level of financial development.”

    Nonsense….
    Just because a farmer takes special care to fatten his pig does not in and of itself mean that he has that pig’s best interests at heart.

    The person or entity, who controls the balance between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ in a society, controls the destiny of those peoples. It is largely the banking system that has collected the excess funds of the wealthy, and decided the fate of those looking for financing to move ahead….the poor.
    That this region has allowed foreign banks to control this critical function is perhaps the very best example of mental slavery that exists among the many other example.

    The most critical contribution of Credit Unions to Barbados has been to provide EVIDENCE of a model of governance, based on community-centric thinking, that ACTUALLY WORKS ….and that works well.
    The result has been a level of empowerment and enfranchisement that NO politician, no bank, no education system and no other approach has even come NEAR to realising.

    ….and it is driven by ordinary, mostly nameless, otherwise ‘everyday’, brass bowl Bajans.
    What a bland presentation on a brilliant topic…. by a real joker.

    Someone REALLY needs to study – and document, the development of the Credit Union movement in Barbados since 1960.

    …NOT Caswell though….
    It needs to be unbiased.
    LOL
    ha ha ha

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Sargeant November 5, 2017 at 2:00 PM #
    “A subtle change in the argument although “central” could be litigated, Emmitt Till was one of many blacks lynched in the USA, the others were lynched for various reasons many of which didn’t relate to lusting or “whistling” at white women. Jim Crow was based on white supremacy, the majority of Jim Crow laws were enacted after “Reconstruction”, Emmitt Till was only one of many victims.”

    Emmitt was one self-assured black boy deemed an uppity nigger in segregated America and paid the ultimate price for being a ‘real little man’.

    Hal Austin does have a point (although it might elude him) about the intent of those Jim Crow laws being aimed at controlling the ‘sexual’ behaviours of black men.

    Black women in the main were (and still are) easily compliant as maids and general helpers in white households with loads of mixed race children to show for the diligent work ethic in order to acquire material things to survive and to raise their ‘piccaninnies’.

    Just do a review of that classic film “Gone with the Wind” or even “A Raisin in the Sun”.

    What about reading those real classics by Lance Horner or Kyle Onstott?

    Why would the white man fear the socially and economically emasculated black man- especially those off the specially bred Mandingo strain- other than as a result of his zoological insecurity common to all primates?

    The white man’s view is clearly based on the notion that if he can’t foxy ‘outfoop’ the black man in the zoological game then use the game of social laws to castrate him so his gene pool would always remain ‘lily white’ even though we will continue to spill milk in the warm cavity of the black women just to brown the black man’s coffee.

    But Karma is always a bitch in whatever colour she appears.

    Today the tables have turned and once the white females go ‘black’ they never turn back from the bigger black bamboo.

    Like

  • @ David
    With all due respect, what EXACTLY is it about Dr R that would lead you to believe that intercourse with him would be of any benefit to Bushie?
    The scope of the presentation clearly shows his limited thinking on the subject and confirms his slavish conformance to the KoolAid philosophy of the albino-centric powers that be.

    He left this blog for the identical reason that Peter Wicker left, and to be quite honest, it is best that he did.

    Let him stay on FaceBook where known lackies can kowtow to his nonsense in typical praise of the King’s beautiful invisible robes…..presumably in search of brownie points.

    It is simply AMAZING the number of Bajans who enjoy ‘wide respect’ where the RESULTS that they produce is all stuff that deserves to be flushed.

    Bushie judges only by the RESULTS produced Boss….

    Like

  • Retribution-things that make me go hum!

    I too felt that the legislation was rushed and will cause serious implications for the victim in the long run. But like with all Policies made by this Government we refuse to demand answers and ask questions.

    Like

  • Women should keep a fully charged cell phone in their handbag.

    Record the harassment .

    Like

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