You may be aware that Republic Act No. 7877, also known as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, provides for criminal sanctions or penalties for acts constituting sexual harassment. You may not be aware, however, that the law also requires the employers or the head of the covered institutions to prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment and to provide for procedures for resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment. They are required to:
1. Promulgate appropriate rules and regulations in consultation with and jointly approved by the employees or students or trainees, through their duly designated representatives, prescribing the procedure for the investigation of sexual harassment cases and the administrative sanctions therefor.
2. Create a committee on decorum and investigation of cases on sexual harassment, composed of at least one representative each from the management, the union, if any, the employees from the supervisory rank, and from the rank and file employees.
3. Disseminate or post a copy of the law for the information of all concerned.
Years back, a client asked me to prepare an initial draft of the rules and regulations, and I was quite surprised that many employers have not yet complied with these requirements despite the fact that the law was passed way back in 1995.
Sexual harassment is committed by an employer, employee, manager, supervisor, agent of the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor, or any other person who, having authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another in a work or training or education environment, demands, requests or otherwise requires any sexual favor from the other, regardless of whether the demand, request or requirement for submission is accepted by the object of the act.
(a) In a work-related or employment environment, sexual harassment is committed when:
(1) The sexual favor is made as a condition in the hiring or in the employment, re-employment or continued employment of said individual, or in granting said individual favorable compensation, terms, conditions, promotions, or privileges; or the refusal to grant the sexual favor results in limiting, segregating or classifying the employee which in any way would discriminate, deprive or diminish employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect said employee;
2) The above acts would impair the employeeâ€™s rights or privileges under existing labor laws; or
(3) The above acts would result in an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for the employee.
(b) In an education or training environment, sexual harassment is committed:
(1) Against one who is under the care, custody or supervision of the offender;
(2) Against one whose education, training, apprenticeship or tutorship is entrusted to the offender;
(3) When the sexual favor is made a condition to the giving of a passing grade, or the granting of honors and scholarships, or the payment of a stipend, allowance or other benefits, privileges or considerations; or
(4) When the sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the student, trainee or apprentice.
The crime of sexual harassment is punishable by imprisonment of not less than 1 month nor more than 6 months, and/or a fine of not less than P10,000.00 nor more than P20,000.00.