ZERO TOLERANCE TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT
CIPM remains committed to its mission to promote Excellence and Regulate the Ecosystem for People Management to Deliver Value for Sustainable Growth of Individuals, Organizations, and Nations.
In fulfilment of this mission, the Institute finds it necessary to clearly establish its strong stance against workplace Sexual Harassment in general, and more specifically, zero-tolerance towards any form of sexual harassment perpetrated by HR professionals within and outside of the workplace. For the avoidance of doubt, sexual harassment may be defined as any “Behaviour characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks, gestures or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation”.
It is important to note that whether the conduct is unintentional or deliberate, it may qualify as sexual harassment so long as the recipient finds it to be unwelcome. Similarly, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), clarifies that: “sometimes employees may not feel safe or strong enough to actively object” and “The mere fact that an employee appears to acquiesce (agree, comply with, accept, submit to, give in) or does not protest against the harassment, thereby creating an impression that the conduct was consensual, does not mean that sexual harassment has not occurred.”
Furthermore, in Nigeria, sexual harassment is unlawful as it violates an individual’s right to dignity and personal freedom. Specifically, Section 254 C) (1) (g) of the Nigerian Constitution (2010 amendment) confers upon the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) the exclusive civil jurisdiction over “any dispute arising from discrimination on sexual harassment in the workplace”.
Based on the above and towards forestalling incidents of workplace harassment, CIPM stresses the importance of preventive measures and highlights the need to raise awareness among employers and employees on issues of harassment in the workplace.
To this end, CIPM calls on all professionals and socially responsible organisations to maintain a united stance against the menace of workplace sexual harassment which undermines the skills, talents and meaningful contributions of its employees (direct or indirect). Cases of sexual harassment should be promptly reported with documentary evidence to the NICN as applicable.
Reports of unprofessional sexual conduct by HR professionals will be reviewed and where probable cause is established, such persons will be reported to the necessary authorities, including but not limited to their employer and the ethics committee of CIPM. Furthermore, members of the Institute found to be involved professional misconduct relating to sexual harassment will also have their membership suspended or revoked as may be deemed necessary by the relevant established organs of the institute.
In addition, in understanding that sexual harassment is not limited to a specific gender, age group or sexual preference, the Institute encourages organisations to adopt inclusive policies and practices that enhance the safety and security of everyone (prospective and actual employees) within the workplace and, hold perpetrators accountable irrespective of their positional power or otherwise. By the same token, job seekers/employees who offer sexual favours in exchange for recruitment or career progression should promptly be reported to CIPM. Such people will receive counselling in the first instance and repeat offenders will subsequently face other measures that will help sanitize our polity.
We encourage people to SPEAK UP and make use of the anonymous Whistle Blowing channel provided by the institute – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As the custodians of the standards for managing people and organization to deliver value and high productivity, we seek your collaboration to deal with this menace that destroys value.