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[FIRST ON EWN] Topbet female staff strip-searched over menstruation incident

The incident was apparently sparked by the discovery of a small amount of menstrual blood in a staff toilet.

The Topbet facility in Germiston. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG – Three Johannesburg women have told Eyewitness News how they and other female colleagues were strip-searched and violated at work allegedly on the instruction of the company’s management.

Three clerks at gambling franchise Topbet’s Germiston branch have described how more than 20 women were forced to undress and were then physically inspected on the premises in January.

The incident was apparently sparked by the discovery of a small amount of menstrual blood in a staff toilet.

The clerks have all described how they and other female employees were questioned and accused by management of leaving menstrual blood in the communal staff toilet.

One woman says that when nobody took responsibility for the incident, management ordered that all female staff be stripped and physically checked by cleaners, to determine who was menstruating, warning that the culprit would be dealt with severely.

"When I arrived at a meeting called by management, my manager was shouting, accusing us of being dirty, demanding that the culprit own up."

The 52-year-old woman says that she pleaded with her manager to be excused as she's already been through menopause.

“I raised my hand and told her how I have already gone through menopause. She said she’s not interested and all she wants to know is who is responsible for the blood in the toilet.”

The woman has since opened a case of sexual harassment against management.

The Topbet national office has confirmed the incident and says it has apologised unequivocally to staff.

The company says an independent female advocate has been appointed to conduct further investigations.

COMPENSATION

Three female employees say they want management to be held accountable as they were violated at work.

The clerks say they cannot understand why they were disrespected and treated in such an inhumane manner by female management.

One of the women, who has since opened a case of sexual harassment against the company, says she is not willing to keep working at the company.

But she wants to be compensated for the violation she was forced to endure.

“I do not sleep at night, I want to be compensated for the way I was victimised. Thereafter, I will leave the company.”

Another female staff member says after the incident, she is fearful and uncertain at work.

“We have nowhere to complain. We work under fear. We try to complain, but they’ve threaten to fire us.”

She wants feedback from the company and decisive action against the culprits.

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