Today's Labour News

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gavel thumb100 News24 reports that the Minister of Correctional Services and a manager at a Western Cape prison were found liable on Tuesday for damages to a social worker who was sexually assaulted in the manager's office.  

Judge Judith Cloete of the Western Cape High Court ruled as follows:  "It is declared that the first and second defendants are jointly and severally liable for such damages as the plaintiff may prove she has suffered in consequence of the sexual assault upon her on January 9, 2009, at the Dwarsrivier Correctional Centre."  In a lengthy judgment, Cloete went over the voluminous submissions on the prison's organogram, as well as the minister's submissions that even though the assault happened at the prison during working hours, the minister could not be responsible for a sexual assault.  However, the minister was found vicariously responsible, namely that he was responsible through the actions of the staffer.  The staffer was also found liable.  Cloete said case law found that when an employer placed an employee in a special position of trust, the employer bore the responsibility of ensuring that the employee was capable of trust.  She also noted that, even though the manager was not the victim's direct supervisor, the balance of power between the manager and the plaintiff was unequal.  Details of the case are contained in the News24 report.  

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bongani Hans by Jenni Evans at News24

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