BUSINESS MONDAY: Education is key to dealing with workplace issues

The issues within the society translate into the workplace. This was the assessment given by Donnya Piggott, Human Rights Activist while speaking on the panel at the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB) seminar at the Cave Hill School of Business.

The seminar entitled, ‘Triple S’ dealt with the issues of sexual harassment, sexual orientation and social media in the workplace. Piggott outlined that the behaviours that are exhibited in society also occur in the workplace because it is accepted as the culture. “In the society women are seen as sexual objects , even going down the street women have a hard time without some kind of comment, therefore it is not surprising it manifests itself in the workplace, as Caribbean people we laugh it off but in professional spaces it can inhibit ones progress…”

“LGBT community in the workplace tend to be treated how they are treated in the society. I use the analogy of the school setting because it translates into work place, where you have someone who is bullied because they may appear different, this manifests itself in the workplace, for example an effeminate man and trans women have an harder time in the workplace …”

Piggott admitted they are difficult issues for Human Resource professionals, however she reinforced the importance of education and also looking at the quality of the person’s work – not if they are a woman or man or sexual orientation.

Dennis Depeiza, General Secretary of CTUSAB also believed that education is important when dealing with these issues and there is still a lot of important work to do.

However he indicated that, “I’m saying that against the backdrop forget about the law at this point, HR professionals are governed by rules, regulations and practices those inform how you treat issues on a daily basis. HR professionals have to make informed decisions, there is no template for all sexual harassment cases but there are policies and procedures to follow ...” (NB)

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