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Sexual Harassment in the Philippines: What It Is and What You Should Do August 22, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Da Pinoy Employee, Working with Bosses and Officemates.
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Sexual harassment can be a tricky thing to prove.  While it’s a recognized threat in the workplace, very few are willing to come out and complain.  Find out what you can do about sexual harassment in case it happens in your office:

What is sexual harassment?
As defined by the Philippine Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, sexual harassment is “a request for a sexual favor, accepted or not, from an employer, employee, manager, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainer or other persons who have authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another.”  It is committed by anyone who demands a sexual favor in exchange for work, promotion or other privileges. 

The Sexual Harassment Act not only covers those who are directly involved but also those who cooperate “in the commission of” the violation.

Sexual harassment can take several forms.  If you’re the object of attention, you could be at the receiving end of malicious stares, jokes, comments, notes, letters, graffiti or physical contact. 

What to do in case of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment can be difficult to prove, especially if it becomes a he said/she said event.  To make sure you protect yourself, do the following:

Say ‘No’ or ‘Stop it’ firmly and loud enough for someone to hear.
If there are potential witnesses, reject the advances through a firm but polite refusal.  Unless you’ve been harassed many times before, don’t make the first offense a sideshow. 

Express your objection to the person’s behavior clearly and firmly but avoid making too much fuss about it.  Saying ‘Stop it!’ in a loud, shrilly voice or screaming at the top of your lungs might be viewed as proof that you’re a hysterical person. 

In case of an investigation, you might come off as unreliable or worse, prone to exaggeration.  Remember that you might be dealing with a sneaky person who can dismiss your complaint as an exaggerated reaction. 

Express your disapproval and be clear about it.  If the person asks you why, tell them it makes you uncomfortable and you don’t think it’s appropriate behavior.  Don’t smile and don’t apologize, either.  You’ll come off as weak and unconvincing.

Document the event/s.
Write down the date, time, place and witnesses to the incident in detail.  Use a journal or a notebook and keep it in a safe place.  In case you have to file for a complaint later, this will come in handy as evidence.  If the harassment escalates, you can also show the journal or notebook to your supervisor.

Inform someone about what happened.
Tell your closest confidant or friend at the office.  If the incident involved touching, violence, psychological or physical threats, do the same and then go to your manager or supervisor.  In his absence, talk to the HR person immediately.  Don’t turn the incident into office gossip, however.  If you must inform anyone, make sure they are either a person of authority or someone who could become a reliable witness for you.

File a complaint.
Chances are, your company has policies regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.  Check your company manual or go to HR to make sure you make the right steps.  They should be able to help you resolve this problem.

If your case is ignored and you wish to pursue it, then you might want to go to the police and file a report.  Be prepared for a more taxing process, though.  If you want justice, you’ll need a lawyer and the judicial procedures can take a while.

What does Philippine law say about sexual harassment?  Here’s a link to a resource you might find useful:

http://www.chanrobles.com/legal4antisexualharassmentact.htm

What’s your story?

Do you have a tip to help others who have experienced sexual harassment?  Share it here.  Sexual harassment is still a threat.  The best way to fight it is to arm men and women with the right knowledge and access to the right resources.

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Comments»

1. Recent URLs tagged Sexualharassment - Urlrecorder - October 29, 2008

[...] recorded first by lebol on 2008-10-28→ Sexual Harassment in the Philippines: What It Is and What You … [...]

2. jojo - July 28, 2009

no comment all i know it is good hehehe!!

3. Andrea Si - July 14, 2010

Thanks for having this on the web. Our NGO used to give orientations on Sexual Harassment but I don’t know where my material went. Have to give a talk to 500 people on the 19th.

4. nerie - March 9, 2011

wat are the exact no. of sexual harrassment in philippines as of this time.?

5. Anonymous - January 5, 2012

how about, if you are the one being accused with, unjust vexation and sexual harassment of your co-employee having the fact that there is no physical contact, only jokes and in direct comments, what should i do? she was telling us that she will pursue the case at the fiscals office. any comment please. thank you…

dapinoyemployee - May 24, 2012

Ah yes the indirect comment and jokes. The comments and jokes may have meant nothing to you but it might have offended your co-worker. Try to look back at the incidents and recall the situation – what you said, why you said it and how she reacted. If the comments and jokes were offensive enough to cause emotional distress, then she has the right to file for unjust vexation and perhaps even sexual harassment. However, if the accusation is unwarranted, you really have nothing to worry about. If she does complain, it usually goes through the HR people first.

Then again, if she can prove the sexual harassment part, she could pursue the case. Let me remind you that sexual harassment does not require you to engage in physical contact. The actions can be non-verbal, such as leering with sexual or indecent overtones or making lurid remarks. It may be funny to the people making the joke but to the one who’s on the receiving end it may be uncomfortable, offensive and even humiliating. Keep in mind that while some women can take the joke, others can’t and don’t tolerate it. Just because a friend of yours laughed at a green/dirty joke or comment does not mean other women will. We all react differently to things because of our values, background and experience.

I am not pre-judging your actions but based on what you wrote, your only argument was that since there was no physical contact involved, it should have been nothing, never mind that, according to you, there were “only jokes and in direct comments”. So let’s put it this way: if your sister, wife, mother or female friend you care about received the kind of attention you gave to your co-employee, would you feel offended for her?

dapinoyemployee - May 24, 2012

I have not been able to find research material that shows the exact number of sexual harassment cases in the Philippines. I’m willing to bet that regardless of the number, many more are not reported due to a number of reasons. Some, for example, are too nonchalant to care or too embarrassed while others may not have the time or compulsion to file a case or complaint.

6. Anonymous - August 15, 2012

Hi
Anyone interested on this seminar?

ALL ABOUT WOMEN’S RIGHTS
LEGAL RIGHTS & OBLIGATIONS
All about Women’s Rights is a seminar on women’s rights and privileges under existing laws, recent legislations and jurisprudence. It includes a comprehensive discussion on the remedies available against exploitations and abuses, and the process of separation of properties, legal separation and annulment of marriages. The seminar will involve an in-depth analysis of various laws including :

​Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995
Anti-Rape law of 1997​
Rape Victim Assistance & Protection Act of 1998​
Women in Development & Nation Building Act​
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003​
Anti-Violence against Women & their Children Act of 2004​
Family Code on Separation of Properties​
Family Code on Legal Separation & Annulment of Marriage​
Relevant provisions of the Revised Penal Code​

Please visit this site for other details :

http://www.infoguidetraining.net/#!schedule/citr

7. Infoguide - August 15, 2012

ALL ABOUT WOMEN’S RIGHTS
LEGAL RIGHTS & OBLIGATIONS
All about Women’s Rights is a seminar on women’s rights and privileges under existing laws, recent legislations and jurisprudence. It includes a comprehensive discussion on the remedies available against exploitations and abuses, and the process of separation of properties, legal separation and annulment of marriages. The seminar will involve an in-depth analysis of various laws including :

​Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995
Anti-Rape law of 1997​
Rape Victim Assistance & Protection Act of 1998​
Women in Development & Nation Building Act​
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003​
Anti-Violence against Women & their Children Act of 2004​
Family Code on Separation of Properties​
Family Code on Legal Separation & Annulment of Marriage​
Relevant provisions of the Revised Penal Code​

Please visit this site for other details :

http://www.infoguidetraining.net/#!schedule/citr

8. 78tei - February 11, 2013

This article is very helpful for pinoy employees. May I ask the author for permission to print this article in our company’s newsletter?

9. Sexual Harassment in the Philippine Workplace « Myron Sta. Ana - February 18, 2013

[...] Lastly, let us talk about what the best things to do are when one is victimized by an act of sexual harassment (with reference to the blog, “The Pinoy Employee’s Guide to Survival in the Workplace”) [...]

10. Anonymous - March 8, 2013

kasanu no mabuteng.

11. john chade alcano - September 30, 2013

can I file a sexual harassment case to a co employee of my wife who had 8 uncompromising pictures of my wife in company outings?

12. Marco Gunman - October 21, 2013

I am have no law background but when does it become a harassment. Let say the person did made a joke once …. then he apologies afterwards . Would the be sexual harassment or it need to be more then one incident .

dapinoyemployee - December 25, 2013

A joke, especially a dirty one is not always appreciated and not always a laughing matter. It may be considered sexual harassment depending on the circumstances and if the offended party files a complaint. Sexual harassment is sexual harassment – it doesn’t matter if it happened just once or several times. If the offender apologizes, it really is up to the offended party to forgive him or not. Good for him, though, because not every person who makes an offending joke realizes his mistake.

dapinoyemployee - December 25, 2013

Absolutely! What on God’s green planet is that person doing with uncompromising pictures of your wife? You may want to talk to the person first. If that fails, then file the case. Your wife may also want to consider asking her company’s HR department for assistance since the person is a co-employee and the pictures were taken during company outings.


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