Sexual Harassment Protocol
By: Angel Berberena, Esq.
October 31, 2022
Following up on our Client Alert of October 4, 2022, on the mandatory implementation of sexual harassment protocols for employers in Puerto Rico, the Department of Labor and Human Resources of Puerto Rico (DOL PR) published the official template of the protocol for the prevention and management of sexual harassment cases in the workplace. Please follow this link for the Protocol Template.
The Puerto Rico Occupational Safety and Health Administration (PR OSHA) will be responsible to oversee the implementation of the protocol by private employers. In addition, the DOL PR issued a statement with the following general principles and obligations:
- Sexual harassment is an illegal practice in the workplace.
- Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination because of sex.
- Employers must establish internal procedures to facilitate the investigation of sexual harassment cases.
- Employers need to be proactive in identifying any conduct that may constitute sexual harassment.
- Employers cannot retaliate against victims, witnesses or any other person involved in an investigation.
- Employers should take preventive measures not to expose the victim or other persons to similar situations.
- Employers must guarantee confidentiality.
- Employers will provide all legal options to the authorities to prosecute sexual harassment cases.
- Employers must take disciplinary measures against any employee that incurs in sexual harassment.
Employers are to implement the Protocol Template, or a similar or better one. Employers with existing protocols or policies must implement the Protocol Template or modify their current protocols or policies to comply with Law 82-2022. (See Client Alert).
The DOL PR recommends the temporary adoption of the Protocol Template until custom protocols can be developed and adopted by individual employers.