The Analyst (Monrovia)

17 December 2012

Liberia: Tough Actions for Sexual Harassers -Civil Service Agency Warns Predators

The Civil Service Agency of Liberia has vowed to institute tough punishments for individuals involved in acts of sexual harassment at work places.

CSA Director General, Dr. C. William Allen issued the caveat Thursday in Monrovia at a one day seminar involving the training of internal investigators to track down acts of sexual misconduct at various work places.

“We’re having this workshop because we want to train internal investigators to be able to uncover acts of sexual harassment at the work place” Dr. Allen disclosed.

“We’re trying to be proactive” he continued, adding, “The issue about sexual harassment is a reality because most times this practice is kept as a secret, or even considered a taboo. So, what we’re trying to do here is to create an awareness to ensure that our civil servants don’t suffer any hostile work environment.”

Sexual harassment is defined but not limited to acts including the making of unwanted and offensive sexual advances or of sexually offensive remarks or acts, especially by one in a superior or supervisory position or when acquiescence to such behavior is a condition of continued employment, promotion, or satisfactory evaluation.

Some common effects of the practice include Psychological stress and health impairment; decreased work or school performance as a result of stress conditions; increased absenteeism in fear of harassment repetition, and firing and refusal for a job opportunity can lead to loss of job or career, loss of income, something Dr. Allen hoped the new initiative would curtail and if possible, entirely eliminate the act from work places or the society in general.

Dr. Allen also revealed that the CSA has received three of such cases since the agency concluded its first workshop back in September.

“If there’re complaints, the first step is to launch an internal investigation which would be conducted by internal investigators at each ministry” Dr. Allen said.

Adding“If it is resolved at that level, then, it means that the matter ends right there; but if it is not resolved at that level, it comes to the examining committee of the Board of Appeals at the CSA. But, if a person is found culpable, which could include reprimand, suspension or dismissal.”

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