Even though sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by South African labour law, it remains a serious problem across the country – as the constant stream of court judgments on the matter illustrate. Not all employers, nor all judges and commissioners, always seem to recognise the serious harm inflicted on employees who are sexually harassed. They should all be compelled to study the recent Constitutional Court judgment on sexual harassment for a lesson on what is at stake.
Dr Charles McGregor was employed as Head of Anaesthesiology at George Hospital, when he was found guilty of sexually harassing a newly qualified doctor, who was completing an internship under his supervision. Dr McGregor stood accused of making unwelcome suggestions of a sexual nature towards the victim “when he dared her to remove her clothes and swim naked”; of inappropriately pressing himself against the victim whilst demonstrating how to carry out a procedure; and of inappropriately touching the victim’s leg. (more…)
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The problem with this perspective is cancel culture isn’t real, at least not in the way people believe it is. Instead, it’s turned into a catch-all for when people in power face consequences for their actions or receive any type of criticism, something that they’re not used to. I’m a black, Muslim woman, and because of social media, marginalized people like myself can express ourselves in a way that was not possible before. That means racist, sexist, and bigoted behavior or remarks don’t fly like they used to. This applies to not only wealthy people or industry leaders but anyone whose privilege has historically shielded them from public scrutiny. Because they can’t handle this cultural shift, they rely on phrases like “cancel culture” to delegitimize the criticism.