Woman fired at work for reporting sexual harassment shares her story
Reporting sexual abuse is not one of the easiest things for women to do because of the society they live in but despite that, a SouthAfrican woman decided to report her colleague and damn the consequences.
Sadly, the justice system failed her.
Phumelele Dlamini explained that her colleague sexually harassed her. Infact, she was not his only victim but others had warned her against reporting him because of his position at work. Even her husband warned her against it, although, he said he was going to support whatever decision he took.
Phumelele wanted justice, so, she reported her colleague. Rather than give her the justice she sought, she was fired.
I was sexually harassed by a colleague at @nestle South Africa where I worked. It went on for months until one day I put on my big girl pants and said enough is enough. I reported it using the internal channels at work. ALL THE DIRECTORS heard about my story…
The employees also knew about it, others even said that they too were harassed by the same guy but would not dare report him because he is the Group Employee Relations Manager. The guy was a known offender, even the guy who watched the company cameras knew about his abusive ass.
However, He is the go to guy for ALL CCMA cases for the entire Group therefore was immuned & protected. I Thobile Shiba – Dlamini soldiered on and reported the guy, despite advise from my own husband not to go against a corporate giant.
Babes u WILL NOT WIN against these guys, they are too big, we are little fish, don’t pick a fight with them, it won’t end well for you, but I will support u, no matter what you decide to do”. Despite the stern warning from a trusted advisor I continued with my quest for JUSTICE.
I felt abused, disrespected, worthless and insignificant. I was very angry. I was a SNR HRBP at Nestle Head Office SA, a Global Multinational, with a Vision, Mission, and Values. A company that is meant to be fair and treat ALL EMPLOYEES with fairness and Respect.
A company that focuses on Marketing to MOTHERS & KIDS… a Company that claims to understand our social dynamics and inequalities of the country. This Company picked sides.
They told me to TRUST the Internal Systems. They told me they would deal with this matter internally. They told me NOT to speak to anyone while they watched the perpetrator lobbying for support in the office, moving from desk 2 desk, canvassing 4 support and prepping witnesses.
I turned to be the laughing stock in the department, my colleagues would whisper about me and make unpleasant jokes as I walked pass them in the corridors. I reported all this and the Company did nothing about it. Instead they did what they called a fact finding exercise.
When the first full day session we did, did not produce “their desired result” they changed consulting firms and hired a well know law firm – Bowlman Gilfillan to conduct another fact finding exercise. Once this was completed they then told me to go ahead and report this matter
.. externally. I therefore went to the CCMA and reported the matter as per advise by my then boss. As soon as my boss got the notice from the CCMA that I had reported a case, I was suspended with immediate effect, I was escorted out of the build by the HEAD OF Security like a common Criminal.
I was later FIRED for spreading malicious lies about my fellow colleague. The case went on at the CCMA for over a year. I had to change my lawyers after finding out that they had been compromised and neutralized by @nestle SouthAfrica
I hired new lawyers, Nestle also got to them as well. The long and short of it is, I lost the case, my lawyers through the case right at the end of the proceedings. Nestle SA won on technicality. I was left ….Jobless, broke, Broken, depressed and feeling worthless.
YES, NESTLE BROKE ME!!!! I was seeing both a psychologist & a psychiatrist. I had NO MONEY, I couldn’t get a job anywhere because Nestle gave me bad references. Technically my life was OVER. Thanx to my strong support system, My sisters, my Husband, My Mom, my Bother and my kids.
I did everything I could do in my power, I reported internally = I was suspended then Fired, I went to the CCMA= I lost after numerous unnecessary postponements, for various reasons on Nestles side. Eventually I was emotionally drained and this is what Nestle wanted.
Later I tried to appeal via the labour court, BUT by then I was totally exhausted, depressed, broke, broken and feeling totally worthless. My Name is Thobile Shiba – Dlamini, I am Human, I have 2 young kids, a Husband, siblings, a mother and close friends…
… They still needed me alive and well. I had to pull myself together. The South African Justice system has totally failed me, and has failed many other women & Children who have experience abuse in the hands of men. We have NOWHERE to go.
WE HAVE NO1 TO HELP US. society expects us to just carry on with life and forgive and forget.