Being sexually taken advantage of, especially if one needs income or education, is a traumatic and painful experience that one will experience. In your effort to survive in this harsh world, note that the law is on your side. In cases of sexual harassment, there is protection for you.
How is sexual harassment committed?
Under RA 7877, it is committed in education, work or training environments.
In a work or training environment, it includes sexual favors were demanded or requested as a condition for hiring, employment, support, promotions, or privileges. It also includes acts that discriminate or intimidate those who refuse to comply.
In an education environment, sexual harassment occurs when individuals under the offender’s care or supervision are subjected to actions where a sexual favor is made a condition for passing grades, honors, scholarships, or benefits, or when it creates an intimidating or offensive environment for the students or trainees.
Who can be victims?
Employees, applicants for employment, students, and individuals undergoing training, instruction, or education. This means that anyone in a work, education, or training environment, of any gender or sexual orientation, can be a potential victim of sexual harassment.
Duties of Employers or Heads of Office:
Section 4 of the “Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995” in the Philippines. These include:
1. Prevention and deterrence of sexual harassment: It is the duty of the employer or head of the work-related, educational, or training environment or institution to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassment in their respective settings [2a].
2. Establishment of procedures: Employers or heads of office must promulgate appropriate rules and regulations, in consultation with and jointly approved by the employees or students or trainees, which prescribe the procedure for the investigation of sexual harassment cases and the administrative sanctions.
3. Creation of a committee: Employers or heads of office are required to create a committee on decorum and investigation of sexual harassment cases. This committee will conduct meetings, increase understanding, prevent incidents of sexual harassment, and initiate the investigation of alleged cases. The composition of the committee will vary depending on the work-related or educational or training environment.
4. Dissemination of information: Employers or heads of office, as well as educational or training institutions, are responsible for disseminating or posting a copy of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 for the information of all concerned.
These duties are aimed at promoting a safe and harassment-free environment in the workplace, education, or training settings.
What are the remedies of the victim?
If a person is violated under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 in the Philippines, they have the right to take certain actions. The process involves the following steps:
1. Reporting the violation: The victim needs to inform the employer, head of office, or educational/training institution about the act of sexual harassment. They should provide details and evidence of the incident to support their claim. This step is crucial to initiate further actions and investigations.
2. Immediate action: Once the employer or head of office is informed, they are required to take immediate action upon receiving the complaint. If no action is taken despite being informed, the employer or head of office can be held liable for damages arising from the act of sexual harassment.
3. Investigation and resolution: The employer or head of the institution must establish a committee on decorum and investigation of cases on sexual harassment. This committee will be responsible for investigating the alleged case of sexual harassment. The committee will conduct meetings, gather evidence, and interview the parties involved.
4. Administrative sanctions: If the alleged perpetrator is found guilty after the investigation, the employer or head of office can impose administrative sanctions as deemed appropriate. These sanctions can include reprimand, suspension, or termination of employment.
5. Separate legal action: The victim has the right to pursue a separate and independent action for damages and other affirmative relief in addition to administrative sanctions. This allows the victim to seek further justice and financial compensation for the harm caused by sexual harassment.
It is important to note that the victim can also seek legal advice or assistance from relevant organizations or authorities to ensure their rights are protected throughout the process.
Overall, the process for individuals who have been violated under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act involves reporting the violation, initiating an investigation, imposing administrative sanctions, and pursuing separate legal action if desired.