Several findings on verbal abuse were noted. The specifics of these findings included managers making threats, yelling, cursing, and using harsh derogatory language toward employees in the workplace. All SIZA members and businesses need to remember that no form of abuse is allowed, including verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. The fifth principle code requirement of SIZA clearly establishes that no form of discrimination, harassment or abuse will be tolerated in the business. The responsibility to ensure such matters are adequately resolved and managed, lies with all levels of management.
SIZA members need to establish adequate procedures and implemented measures to allow for grievances to be raised and effectively resolved internally. All employees need to be respected and all interactions should be fair and non-discriminatory. Employers and all members of the business should always be aware of any cultural aspects that influence matters concerning discrimination, harassment, or abuse. The definitions can be broad, and the intention behind practices should be key to understanding whether certain employees feel they are treated unfairly or not.
Ensure an adequate communication model is in place for all employees
In any business, regardless of size, there needs to be a mechanism through which workers or members of lower/middle management can raise their concerns to more senior managers who are able to address these concerns and work towards resolving labour practice related issues. It is likely that the system will differ from business to business depending on things like diversity of labour force, size of work force, seasonality, and so on. It is important that whatever system is implemented is effective and that workers are made aware of such a system and are conversant in its functions and use. For example, this can be in the form of:
- WhatsApp groups
- Worker committee representatives
- Weekly gatherings/meetings (keep social distancing)
- Anonymous suggestion/communication box (management must remember to provide feedback on concerns raised).
The SIZA Social Standard 2.4. states that the business should ensure that there is a mechanism for non-management personnel to communicate with management about issues relating to labour practices and ethical trade principles. It is therefore important that businesses consider possible communication channels to allow adequate input and open communication to take place. For more information on adequate communication, see the SIZA Social Standard by visiting https://siza.co.za/standard/social-standard/