On September 11, the Executive Power passed Law 18,561, (called Sexual Harassment Law), aiming to prevent and punish sexual harassment as well as to protect its victims.
1. Area of application.
The Decree dated 09/11/2017 is intended to regulate Law 18,561, whose purpose is the prevention and punishment of sexual harassment as well as the protection of the victim who suffers harassment in their working environment in the public and private sector.
Likewise, all type of sexual harassment in the aforementioned area qualifies as a serious discrimination and ignorance of dignity.
It is necessary to clarify that the regulation establishes that the relations between teachers and students will be subject to a specific regulation, which has not been dictated so far.
2. Prevention of Sexual Harassment at work.
The regulation provides as a preventive measure the set of actions designed to discourage and prevent behaviors of sexual harassment in the workplace, such as: a) The preparation of protocols that regulate the prevention of sexual harassment; b) Providing training to workers as well as any measure designed to disseminate the provisions of Law 18,561; and c) arrange repeated guidelines of observation and evaluation of the work environment.
Next, the Decree under analysis establishes the content of the Protocols that must be issued by the companies. For example, protocols should regulate reporting mechanisms, identify situations of sexual harassment, and determine the most appropriate research format.
Also, the regulation determines that the observation and evaluation measures may be adopted within the scope of the Prevention and Health Services at Work (Decree 127/014); or in the Bipartite Commission on Health and Safety (Decree 291/007).
Finally, the Decree gives great importance to the media of the employer's institutional policies against sexual harassment. Thus, they are considered as reliable means of communication and dissemination: institutional website, billboard, distribution of brochures, internal regulations, among others.
3. Integral protection to the affected person.
The regulation determines that during the period when the employer is carrying out investigation after the complaint for harassment is made, integral protection measures must be taken to minimize the harmful effects of the reported situation with regards to the health, safety and dignity of the victim, as well as for all the people involved in the investigation process.
As an example, the Decree suggests as integral protection measures: adjust work schedules to allow affected people to attend psychiatric or psychological consultations; avoid joint work between the persons denounced and complainants; or the transfer of the person denounced; without prejudice of the use of measures.
4. Outsourced Companies.
Art. 10 of the Decree refers to the actions that the main employer must take when faced with a report of Sexual Harassment, in the events there are workers involved in their company and the subcontracted company.
For this, it is established that the duty of the principal employer is to collaborate with the outsourcer in regards to its obligations of prevention and dissemination of the institutional policy against sexual harassment, as well as to adopt measures aimed at the comprehensive protection of the affected, according to Art. 7 of Law 18,251.
Montevideo, September 2017