Jul 22, 2019

Bullying and Sexual Harassment in the Legal/Justice Community #NBAAGC2019

Bullying and Sexual Harassment are cankerworms that has eaten deep into the workplace in Nigeria. Bullying is the use of coercion, force, or threat, to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate. 

This behavior occurs repeatedly. Examples of bullying include, spreading malicious rumors, excluding or isolating someone socially, undermining a person’s work, physical abuse, making offensive jokes, intruding on a person’s privacy, yelling or using profanity, blocking applications for training, leave or promotion, intimidating a person, establishing impossible guidelines, unwarranted punishment and so on. The sad thing is that it has become the Nigerian workplace culture to protect and even promote bullying. Senior colleagues and employers are guilty of this when they use terms like “orange´’ or “dull” head to their subordinates.
It is easy to understand that sexual harassment can be a form of bullying, especially when it is used to intimidate or dominate over that person. Sexual Harassment has been defined as any unwanted behavior of sexual nature which makes one feel offended, uncomfortable, intimidated or humiliated. Examples of sexually harassing behavior include, unwelcome touching, staring, suggestive comments or jokes, requests for sex, intrusive questions about a person’s private life or body, unnecessary familiarity, sexually explicit physical contact, unwanted invitations to go on dates and so on.
Everyday, thousands of men and women are constantly bullied and sexually harassed by their employers and colleagues. Bullying and Sexual Harassment occurs everywhere – law firms, companies, government and even in the judiciary and the victims are usually the subordinates – interns and new wigs.
The reason why many of the victims are silent is because of the status of the perpetrator, fear of repercussions and not knowing the appropriate authority to report to.  
The Nigerian Labor Act failed to criminalize both bullying and sexual harassment. Although Section 262 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State criminalized Sexual Harassment. 
How do you win with a man or woman upon whom your livelihood depends but is determined to frustrate you just to demonstrate superiority? What are the steps to follow when bullied or sexually harassed at your workplace?
In legal practice, what are the forms of bullying and sexual harassment faced by lawyers, judges and even law students? These issues and so much more would be discussed at the Plenary Session of the NBA Annual General Conference scheduled to hold on;
Date: Tuesday, 27th August 2019
Time:  11.00 – 12.30
Venue: Zinnia Hall
Moderator: Hon. Justice Teddy Aruba
Panelists:    Ogaga Emoghwanre
Mia Essien SAN
We look forward to having you contribute and join the discuss at the NBA Session on Bullying and Sexual Harassment in the Legal Community.