Female merchandisers and students on attachment at Backers’ Inn Bulawayo branch have reportedly been subjected to forced kisses, hugs, verbal intimidation and all sorts of sexual harrasment by senior managers at the firm, it has been learnt.
Reports indicate that the managers at the firm have a habit of pestering female staffers for sexual favors and in the event that they refuse to comply, the subordinate employees risk being transferred from one supermarket to another.
The victims of the alleged abuses recounted their horrors in separate interviews.
“We are being subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, verbal bullying, victimisation, forced hugs and kisses, and all forms of sexual misconduct. Those who refuse the sexual advances are subjected to further harassment like being transferred from one supermarket to another. Some victims are keeping quiet or not coming forward because they fear losing their jobs”, said one female Bakers’ Inn staffer who requested anonimity.
Complaints to the Human Resources Manager have reportedly yielded no results at all.
The shocking details of sex-for-favors at Bakers’ Inn emerged as police have opened investigations into the matter which has left one of the female students on attachment extremely depressed and demoralised.
A police officer close to the investigations described the latest development as ‘just a tip of the iceberg’.
“Yes, there is a case of sexual harassment involving a student on attachment from that company which is being handled by the police. The case is just a tip of the iceberg of what is happening at the company as more victims are yet to come forward and give their testimonies”.
The cop, whose identity cannot be revealed for professional concerns, said the lady attaché has been left in a trauma following the incidents.
“When she was interviewed by the police, she was so traumatised and ashamed, not only by the sexual harassment but by having to give the details of the alleged harassment. Before investigations were instituted the victim was referred for counselling as she was extremely traumatised as a result of the alleged harassment. There is no doubt that this matter would add to a growing number of reports that women are regularly harassed or discriminated against at the company”, he said.
When contacted for a comment, Bakers Inn Chief Executive Officer Ngoni Mazango said they were going to institute investigations into the matter.
“As a business we do not tolerate such behaviour and conduct, as such, we will investigate. Those found on the wrong side of our Code of Conduct, will be dealt with in accordance with the law,” said Mazango.

State Media