The women of Malawi have been handed a legal victory that will stand them in good stead when faced with sexual harassment and assault at the workplace. It involves a woman working as a time-keeper for construction company Mota-Engil, who went to court over her experience of sexual harassment. She claimed that because her employers did nothing about her complaints, and thus allowed the situation to continue, Mota-Engil was liable to pay ‘aggravated damages’ to her.
The woman at the centre of this case had a contract with the Mota-Engil construction company and worked as a time-keeper, maintaining accurate records of the length of time taken to complete particular sections of work. Her immediate superior was Joaquim Carvalho, a non-Malawian, Portugese-speaking man, who also worked for the company under contract as general foreman.