On February 3, 2021, the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources published its guidelines for the adoption and implementation of workplace harassment protocols as required by Law No. 90-2020, also known as the Workplace Harassment Act of Puerto Rico. The Guidelines Regarding Workplace Harassment in the Puerto Rico Private Sector (The Guidelines) require employers in the private sector to adopt and implement specific protocols and procedures against workplace harassment. Employers have 180 days to adopt and implement their internal workplace harassment protocols.
The Guidelines mirror the definitions established by Law No. 90-2020, which defines workplace harassment as repeated conduct that is: malicious, not desired, repetitive and abusive; arbitrary, unreasonable and/or capricious; that falls outside the legitimate interests of the employer's company, against the employee's protected constitutional rights. The malicious conduct may be verbal, written and/or physical, and may be performed by the employer, their agents, supervisors, and/or employees.
As per Law No. 90-2020, the Guidelines require employers to take all necessary measures to eliminate or minimize workplace harassment. Employers are also required to take action to correct any harassing behavior in the workplace, create necessary policies, place mandatory posters, provide adequate training to the workforce, and provide an internal procedure for investigating employee complaints. Employers may also alter or amend existing internal procedures to channel any grievances regarding workplace harassment.
The Guidelines include a basic template of an internal protocol that incorporates Law No. 90-2020's mandates, which employers can adopt or alter to their specific needs.