Gender-based Sexual Harassment

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  • Gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace involve unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demand for sexual favors or any act of sexual nature.
  • The offender may be employers or other persons of authority, influence or moral ascendancy in a workplace.
  • Employers who do not take action may be held liable.

Gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace

The crime of gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace includes the following:

1) An act or series of acts involving any unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demand for sexual favors or any act of sexual nature, whether done verbally, physically or through the use of technology such as text messaging or electronic mail or through any other forms of information and communication systems, that has or could have a detrimental effect on the conditions of an individual’s employment or education, job performance or opportunities;

2) A conduct of sexual nature and other conduct-based on sex affecting the dignity of a person, which is unwelcome, unreasonable, and offensive to the recipient, whether done verbally, physically or through the use of technology such as text messaging or electronic mail or through any other forms of information and communication systems;

3) A conduct that is unwelcome and pervasive and creates an intimidating, hostile or humiliating environment for the recipient: Provided, That the crime of gender-based sexual harassment may also be committed between peers and those committed to a superior officer by a subordinate, or to a teacher by a student, or to a trainer by a trainee; and

4) Information and communication system refers to a system for generating, sending, receiving, storing or otherwise processing electronic data messages or electronic documents and includes the computer system or other similar devices by or in which data are recorded or stored and any procedure related to the recording or storage of electronic data messages or electronic documents. (Section 16, R.A. 11313)

Duties of employers

Employers or other persons of authority, influence or moral ascendancy in a workplace shall have the following duties:

1. Prevent, deter, or punish the performance of acts of gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace;

2. Disseminate or post in a conspicuous place a copy of the Safe Spaces Act to all persons in the workplace;

3. Provide measures to prevent gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace, such as the conduct of anti-sexual harassment seminars;

4. Create an independent internal mechanism or a committee on decorum and investigation to investigate and address complaints of gender-based sexual harassment which shall:

4.1. Adequately represent the management, the employees from the supervisory rank, and rank-and-file employees, and the union, if any;

4.2. Designate a woman as its head and not less than half of its members should be women;

4.3. Be composed of members who should be impartial and not connected or related to the alleged perpetrator;

4.4. Investigate and decide on the complaints within ten (10) days or less upon receipt thereof;

4.5. Observe due process;

4.6. Protect the complainant from retaliation; and

4.7. Guarantee confidentiality to the greatest extent possible;

5. Provide and disseminate, in consultation with all persons in the workplace, a code of conduct or workplace policy which shall:

5.1. Expressly reiterate the prohibition on gender-based sexual harassment;

5.2. Describe the procedures of the internal mechanism created under Section 17 (c) of the Safe Spaces Act; and

5.3. Set administrative penalties. (Section 17, R.A. 11313)

Duties of employees and co-workers

Employees and co-workers shall have the duty to:

1) Refrain from committing acts of gender-based sexual harassment;

2) Discourage the conduct of gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace;

3) Provide emotional or social support to fellow employees, co-workers, colleagues or peers who are victims of gender-based sexual harassment; and

4) Report acts of gender-based sexual harassment witnessed in the workplace. (Section 18, R.A. 11313)

Liability of employers

The employers may be held liable for:

1) Committing acts of gender-based sexual harassment;

2) Non-implementation of their duties under Section 17 of the Safe Spaces Act, as provided in the penal provisions; or

3) Not taking action on reported acts of gender-based sexual harassment committed in the workplace. (Section 19, R.A. 11313)

References

  • R.A. 11313, Safe Spaces Act