Expanded sexual harassment bill moves forward in House

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2018 03:04 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill expanding the definition of sexual harassment.

House Bill 8244, as submitted to the plenary, wants to uphold the rights of women and secure their well-being especially in the workplace, and in training and educational institutions where discrimination against them are prevalent.

It expands the scope of sexual harassment and defines it as an act or a series of acts which maybe committed physically, verbally or visually with the use of information communication technology or any other means or technology within or outside of the place of employment, training or education environment that would result in intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the employee by any of the other persons.

It penalizes an employer, manager, supervisor, agent of the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor or any other person, who having authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another’s work, training, education or apprenticeship, commits or makes any unwanted, unwelcome or inappropriate sexual advance, request or demand for sexual favor, regardless of whether the request or demand is accepted by the object of the sexual advances.

It holds liable persons who are in authority and in a position to influence the following activities as follows: hiring, approving or granting appointments, reemployment or continued employment, granting favorable compensation, terms and conditions of employment, promotions or privileges, with respect to committing said acts against their employees and applicants for employment or promotion or admission to an educational scholarship, payment of stipends, allowances or other benefits, privileges or considerations with respect to committing said acts against their students and applicants for admission or scholarship.

It also penalizes any person who commits or engages in any unwanted, unwelcome or inappropriate sexual act, advance or sexually based behavior against another person or makes any offensive remark about a person’s sexual orientation where both victim and perpetrator are connected to or belonging in the same place of employment, training or education.

It also holds liable any person who directs or induces another to commit any act of sexual harassment.

The measure repealing the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 will have still to hurdle a third and final reading before successfully passing the House of Representatives.

Senator Grace Poe has submitted a similar measure in the Senate and a committee report has been consolidated for it.