Global company in sexual harassment mire

Global company in sexual harassment mire.
Global company in sexual harassment mire.
Image: 123RF/neydt

A multinational renewable-energy company has been accused of failing its female employees after a site manager was given a written warning after being found guilty of sexual harassment.

Sowetan understands that the site manager who works for Enel Green Power was found guilty of sexually harassing a female colleague through internal disciplinary processes, but was allowed to keep his job.

The verdict was passed last week Tuesday, two days after the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign.

The victim, who is employed as an engineer at the company, has also opened a criminal case against the manager after he allegedly grabbed her from behind and rubbed his buttocks on August 14, 2017.

Yesterday, gender activist Lebo Kheswa, who is assisting the 33-year-old victim, said it was shocking that the company expected its female employees to continue working with the site manager despite the verdict.

"The guy is still in the company, and they have given him a written warning. How does Enel expect women to work in the same environment as a perpetrator? This guy should have been fired," she said.

Kheswa said there were complaints against the same man from at least two other women in the company.

She said the victim suffered immensely without proper support from the company's human resources department after she reported the matter. She said the woman had suffered emotional trauma and was diagnosed with severe depression.

When contacted for comment, the 33-year-old woman declined to speak to Sowetan.

Johannesburg North police spokesman Captain Granville Meyer said they were unable to confirm the case number because their systems were
offline.

The company did not respond to specific questions on their sexual harassment policy, and whether there had been other complaints against thesite manager.

The company's communications department commented in writing, saying that Enel regarded such matters as serious.

"Enel Green Power has undertaken a thorough internal investigation into a reported incident between two employees. The company takes allegations like these seriously, and we confirm that a disciplinary hearing overseen by an external independent chairperson was conducted," the company said.

The company refused to comment on steps taken against the manager, saying such matters were confidential.

"The measures we have taken are in accordance with the results of the investigation and are in line with the law and the policies. For the protection of the employees and their right to privacy, we cannot disclose confidential details," it stated.

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