On its 22nd year of effectivity, the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 7877) aims to protect every individual from work, education or training-related sexual harassment. While not solely for the benefit of women, the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 is often celebrated as a legislation geared towards gender equality.
What setting is contemplated under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995?
The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 covers sexual harassment commitment in a work, education or training setting, meaning that the person committing the offending act qualifies as an employer, employee, manager, supervisor, agent of the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor, or any other person who has authority, influence or moral ascendancy over the victim in a work, education or training environment.
How is sexual harassment committed?
Sexual harassment is commitment in a work-related environment when a sexual favor is made as a condition in the hiring, employment, re-employment or continued employment of the victim, or in granting the victim favorable compensation, terms of conditions, promotions, or privileges. It is also committed when refusal by the victim to grant a sexual favor results in limiting, segregating or classifying the victim in a manner that would discriminate, deprive or diminish employment opportunities of, or otherwise adversely affect, the victim. There is also sexual harassment when the foregoing acts or conditions impair the victim’s rights or privileges under applicable labor laws or result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the victim.
On the other hand, sexual harassment in an education or training environment is commitment (i) when the victim is a person under the care, custody or supervision of the offender, (ii) when the victim is a person whose education, training, apprenticeship or tutorship is entrusted to the offender, (iii) when the sexual favor is made as a condition to giving the victim a passing grade, or to granting of honors and scholarships, or for the payment of a stipend, allowance, or other benefit, privilege or consideration, or (iv) when the sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the victim.
Who are penalized under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995?
The law penalizes (i) the offender, (ii) the person who directs or induces another to commit any act of sexual harassment, (iii) the person who cooperates in the commission of such act and without which cooperation such act would not have been committed, and (iv) the employer or head of the office, educational or training institution in which such sexual harassment has occurred, if such employer or head is informed of such acts by the victim and no immediate action is taken.
How stiff are the penalties imposed under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995?
A person who violates the provisions of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 shall be penalized by imprisonment of at least one month up to six months, and/or a fine of at least Ten Thousand Pesos up to Twenty Thousand Pesos. Important to keep in mind that a violation under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 must be reported within three years from occurrence thereof.