Courageous Conversations - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

AFETT's February 2017 Meeting

AFETT’s February meeting inspired much heartfelt discussion as members, stakeholders and panellists came together to have some Courageous Conversations. The forum on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace was held at the Unit Trust Corporation’s Financial Centre in Port of Spain, and featured experts on the subject. Panellists. Neil Parsanlal, CEO Petrotrin EAP Services Limited; Mr. Jonathan Cumberbatch, HR Manager, Palo Seco Agricultural Enterprises Ltd., and Lynette Seebaran-Suite, Chairman, Equal Opportunity Commission, each brought a perspective to the discussion that encouraged keen participation from the audience.


Mrs Seebaran-Suite began the evening by explaining that there are no specific laws that address sexual harassment in Trinidad and Tobago and went into detail about how this issue is addressed by the constitution, the Equal Opportunity Commission, and private businesses. She discussed the shortcomings of the current practices and emphasised the need for protection to prevent victimisation.


Mr Cumberbatch outlined the sexual harassment policies which are often implemented in local companies and gave examples of sexual harassment incidents. He pointed out that most women have experienced sexual harassment in some form and highlighted the importance of greater sensitivity of the issue as well as training and retraining in our workplaces.


During his contribution, Mr. Parsanlal talked about how old policies and stereotypes perpetuate unacceptable behaviour in the workplace. He explained how a good employee assistance programme (EAP) can act preemptively to limit instances of sexual harassment, especially if it includes training and counselling. He explained that these methods must be preventative, therapeutic and curative.


The enlightening presentations generated much dialogue from the audience as they asked questions and shared anecdotes related to sexual harassment in their lives. The panellists thanked the AFETT administration for being a part of the conversation about this crucial issue.

AFETT Encourages Courageous Conversations about
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

AFETT would like to thank our distinguished and knowledgeable speakers for sharing with us. Special appreciation must also be given  to the Unit Trust Corporation, which provided us with funding, venue and parking for a very successful event. AFETT also thanks Soundroom Productions for videotaping this important forum, so the discussions and presentations can be archived.

Videos from Courageous Conversations
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Photography by: Tevin Newton

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