Measures Against Sexual Harassment At Work To Receive Presidential Approval

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As a new labour law initiative pending presidential approval, it was already passed by Congress in their last debate, with 100 votes in favour and none against.
Colombia Employment and HR
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As a new labour law initiative pending presidential approval, it was already passed by Congress in their last debate, with 100 votes in favour and none against. The bill 101/22S-332/22C establishes new tools to address sexual harassment at work and in educational institutions in the country.

This new law seeks greater protection and attention to complaints. Also, victims of sexual harassment will be able to request a transfer to a different area so as not to work with the perpetrator or have any interaction with them.

According to this initiative, victims of sexual harassment at work will be able to work from home and enjoy reinforcing job stability for at least six months, during which time the complainant cannot be dismissed without the authorisation of a labour inspector. When these complaints occur, the person who is being investigated for sexual harassment is the one who must prove his or her innocence.

It is important to highlight that sexual harassment at work or in educational institutions occurs when there are physical or verbal acts that turn into persecution, harassment, or sexual harassment, which take place in the midst of power relations that exist in the work or educational context. For example, between employees and their bosses.

On the other hand, the Occupational Risks Management Companies (ARL in Spanish) will have to be educated about when sexual harassment in the workplace occurs, and employers will have to have routes for the prevention and attention of the complaints that reach them, so they will be responsible for those cases when they do not implement them.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-House Counsel

For employers, these new measures should be implemented in the workplace as a continued policy against sexual harassment, which should not be acceptable under their own employment agreements. Employers who fail to do so by not providing accurate protection within workplace measures may be found liable for the damages in an eventual labour claim.

Although Colombia has a law against workplace harassment, it falls short because it does not focus on sexual harassment itself since there are no measures to provide redress to victims, and their complaints end up being made invisible and treated as a private and personal matter that is not the responsibility of the company.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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