“My Boss Threatened to Sack Me After Refusing to Sleep With Him, What Should I Do?” Lawyer Advises

“My Boss Threatened to Sack Me After Refusing to Sleep With Him, What Should I Do?” Lawyer Advises

  • An employer (name withheld) has threatened to terminate the contract of his staff because she refused his sexual advances
  • The young lady who spoke anonymously was under pressure and confused, considering the harsh economic realities and the trouble of getting a new job
  • Barrister Olayinka Serah Ahmed, an associate attorney at First Almond Attorneys in Lagos, explained the position of the law on the matter and what options the lady can explore

Legit.ng journalist Esther Odili has over two years of experience covering political parties and movements.

A young lady who spoke to Legit.ng anonymously disclosed that her job was being threatened because she refused to accept her boss' sexual advances.

Lawyer advises lady on what to do as her boss threatened to sack her
The boss threatened to sack the employee. For illustration purposes only. Depicted person has no relationship to events described in this material. Photo credit: Jacob Wackerhausen/Getty Images
Source: Getty Images
"My boss, who is married with three kids, wants to start dating me and even have sexual foreplay with me. He has stated his reasons but I am not interested in such a relationship.

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"I know my rights as an employee. I have a right to say no. My boss can't threaten me. But he told me that he has the right to fire and hire. That he also has the right to tell who gets paid by the end of the month too.
"I understand what my boss is doing is called called sexual harassment and it is against company policy to do so. He's using his position to sexually proposition me. If I don't do this I will be fired.
"In fact, my boss said to me, "If you don't have sex with me , I will fire you." I responded, Sir, you are married, and your wife and children are based abroad; I respect you a lot and also want to maintain my self-respect.

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"My major issue now is that he is unwilling to understand my reasons. He is threatening me with my current job. He said it was either I accept his advances or risk being sacked. I want to know, Is sexual harassment an offence and what should I do now, considering the economic situation in the country at the moment and the trouble of getting a better job?"

Sexual harassment is an offence, but? Legal expert explains

Barrister Olayinka Serah Ahmed is passionate about fundamental human rights and has experience in civil, criminal, and corporate areas of law.

"Sexual harassment in the workplace is an offence, and redress can be sought at the Court of law."

Sexual harassment is a pandemic that has eaten deep into the workspace globally. Many women and sometimes men face this grave issue in their work environment. Sadly, the act largely occurs in executive and administrative positions or institutions; hence, we can say that many professionals are suffering and smiling. Sexual harassment has rendered victims vulnerable and defenceless, and sometimes loss of self-esteem in a bid to safeguard careers or retain their source of livelihood, and this has, by implication, been encouraging and empowering these unrepentant perpetrators of this barbaric and dastard act to do more.

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Speak up, seek redress at National Industrial Court

This act has become endemic and not being exhibited only by superiors and more privileged persons at both public and private workplaces but also by clients who adamantly and lustfully desire to have carnal knowledge of their target persons before they invest in their businesses or become stakeholders. Their target persons often lack social class, age, or status. They also range from vulnerable to non-vulnerable and from soft to hard.

It is noteworthy that sexual harassment cannot be limited to physical contact; it could be verbal as well as expression of body language based on the parties involved. Nevertheless, regardless of how much this cancerous habit has eaten deep into the work system, there will always be a lawful way out.

"Looking at it from the legal perspective, the National Industrial Court, in the recent case of Pastor (Mrs.) Abimbola Patricia Yakubu Vs Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria & Anor (Suit No. NICN/LA/673/2013. Judgement delivered on November 24, 2016.) The National Industrial Court in this case awarded a sum of N5million (Five Million Naira Only) against the 2nd Defendant for sexual harassment. The Claimant, Mrs. Abimbola while working for the 1st Defendant’s organization under the supervision of the 2nd Defendant was subjected to sexual harassment, which included promiscuous, indecent, and needless local trips and demand for sexual favour even while being pregnant with her third child."

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The above case is just one out of many that the appropriate court, the National Industrial Court, is provisionally established to handle and punish the perpetrators of this act.

Regrettably, quite a number of women and men face the same issue as the above-cited case but are scared to speak out because of the fear of intimidation, oppression and other untold hardships or unforeseen circumstances that may emanate from the turn of events. I dare to say that the easier way to report sexual harassment is by submitting documented evidence. This documented evidence could be recordings such as videos, pictures or notes, and other concrete ways.

In addition, it is imperative that the employers, employees, and all relevant stakeholders be educated on what constitutes sexual harassment, the precautionary methods required, actions to take once reported, creating a safe workspace and self-defence in the face of such assault, all these and many more are provided for in the Nigeria Labour Law.

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Sexual harassment: Firms have a role to play

In the same token, it is highly recommended for the workplace to conduct a survey per-time, a private one which will safeguard the identity of victims, and this should be carried out by private entities rather than the executives of the organisation or the institution, you never can tell, there might be snitches and wolves in sheep clothing.

Furthermore, this offence can be reported to the Domestic and Sexual Violence Center in Lagos, the agency created and saddled with the responsibility to handle such a situation, as well as several other similar ministries, departments, and agencies of government established and meant for this offence and other related matters that spread across the country.

Sexual harassment: Victims can report the case, go to court

"If as an employee, you are being subjected to sexual harassment in your work place, either physically, verbally, body language or you are being sold off to attract clients, it is time you know that you can report the case."

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You may consider heading to court with all your evidence and even get all your benefits from such organisation as the case may be; therefore, you are not losing. It is also noteworthy that when a case of sexual harassment is being reported, caution and due diligence must be observed in arriving at the truth because some also tend to blackmail others to get back at them for refusing their advances, personal vendetta or for other reasons best known to them, hence utmost care should be taken. Nonetheless, sexual harassment should not be handled with levity.

Police arrest man in place of his fleeing brother

In another development, a young man was arrested by the police in place of his brother, who fled from detention after being arrested for robbery.

Barrister Olayinka Serah Ahmed, a respected legal expert, provided clarity to the matter, including the right of the police to make such an arrest.

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Disclaimer: The advice given in this article is general and is not intended to influence readers' decisions. Readers should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any decision.

Do you have a story to tell? Want an expert's advice? Please email us at ask.an.expert@corp.legit.ng with 'Ask an expert' in the subject line.

Source: Legit.ng

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