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Are You in Danger of Getting Charged with Sexual Harassment? November 26, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Da Pinoy Employee, Working with Bosses and Officemates.
Tags: , ,

Sexual banter is normal among people and we Pinoys are especially well-versed in green jokes, suggestive statements and double entendres.  However, there is a limit to everything, especially in the workplace. 

As an employee, you are protected against sexual harassment from co-workers, visitors and yes, even your boss, no matter how high his/her rank is in the organization.  So just because YOU are protected doesn’t mean others aren’t.  If you’re incredibly careless and tactless about the way words leave your tongue or the way you deal with others physically, you could be on the receiving end of a sexual harassment charge. 

Getting slapped by a sexual harassment claim can be very embarrassing and troublesome, depending on the seriousness of the situation.  It could brand you for a really long time, get you kicked out of a good job, ruin your relationships with your colleagues and superiors and even cause trouble in your family.

Let’s clear up a few things about sexual harassment:

#1, the perception of sexual harassment can be relative.  To some people, someone coming up to them and saying, ‘Ang sexy mo naman.’ may not mean anything at all, but to some, it may sound offensive.  So it doesn’t only matter how you say it but also to whom you say it.

#2, some people are really plain palabiro but that doesn’t mean other people should just grin and bear it.  Some people can take their jokes too far, including you.  Just because you’re a self-confessed jokester doesn’t give you the right to drop a dirty punchline now and again to every unsuspecting co-worker.

#3, some people can’t help looking good and many of them might even go through certain pains just to achieve a certain look.  However, their bodies are nobody’s business, including yours.  If you think they’re sexy/appealing/hot, go ahead and look – but shut your piehole and don’t touch.

#4, there are still people who are very sensitive when it comes to the subject of sex.  It could be their upbringing, their environment, personal values or maybe even their religious affiliation.  Whatever it is, it’s something that will affect how well they can take a sexually-tinged joke or statement.

#5, the kind of office culture or environment you work in will also factor in the complaint.  Some offices are very strict and businesslike while others allow certain employee behaviors.

What happens if you do get charged with sexual harassment?
That really depends on the next step that the person you have ‘offended’ will take.  They could:

a) Talk to you in private and ask you to stop.
b) Avoid you like the plague and don’t speak to you directly.
c) Talk about you behind your back.
d) Go to your supervisor/manager to complain.
e) Go to their supervisor/manager to complain.
f) Go directly to HR to complain.

If an investigation follows, you could expect to either receive a formal invitation through a notice regarding the complaint or be asked for a personal meeting with the complainant, their witnesses and the HR head.  In some cases, particularly during the second phase of the complaint process, your higher ups will be involved.

So what’s the punishment like in case the sexual harassment case against you is proven?  That would depend on the severity of the offense and on the company policies that are already in place.  You could:

– get an oral reprimand
– get suspended
– get fired

And what about privacy issues regarding the complaint?  When it comes to HR, you could rely on these people to keep the details of the case confidential.  But don’t count on something like a sexual harassment complaint staying under the office radar for so long.  Word could get out (if it hasn’t already) and it could spread like wildfire. 

So how do you protect yourself from sexual harassment claims?  Click on this link for some tips.



1. jean - May 13, 2011

i am a manager in a private company, and i am a woman, i was charged with sexual harassment my a subordinate after i filed a case of fraud and other misdemeanor against him. i was found guilty and was dismissed. honestly, i never did sexual harass him, i am an attractive woman, and i don’t want to be anything, but the man who accused me is bad looking, he has dark skin, big belly and his face is something that a woman will not take to a party. can i file an appeal to the labor commission?

dapinoyemployee - May 24, 2012

If you have evidence and/or witnesses that can support you, then yes you should file an appeal. You owe it to yourself. Also, let me just say that sexual harassment does not exempt anyone due to looks (or the lack of it). A former boss of mine sexually harassed one of the women at the office and when she complained, people raised their eyebrows because she was not exactly attractive (she had nice legs, though). That, however, does not mean my former boss was innocent. If you did not harass the man, I hope you find enough supporting evidence or documents to help you. Good luck.

2. Edlyn Omboy Salmeron - March 3, 2013

ako po ay isang janitress may asawa at 2 anak last feb 22 2013 naranasan ko pong mabastos ng isa ko ding kasamahan na lalaki ang ginawa nya una niyakap nya ako tpos hinawakan nya ang kanan kong dibdibat hinampas nya ang pwet ko sabay sabing pakipot pa daw ako ..hnd po ako nakagawa ng ingay or skandalo ng tym na un dahil sa sobrang takot at hiya kaso po hnd agad ako nagsumbong kc natatakot ako na hnd paniwalaan ng iba kc baguhan at hnd pa po ako kilala don kinabukasan pumasok po ako uli para magpaalam lng na hnd na ko papasok sa trbho para tahimik at hnd malaman ng mga kasamahan ko na iba kc nakakahya kso sa sobrang sakit at panliliit ko sa sarili ko na hnd ako makatulog ng gabing un hnd k na naiwasang umiyak ng nagtanong ang supervisor ko kng bakit hnd na ako papasok don ko lng po nagawang magsumbong … tanong ko lng po kng pwd pa po ako magfile ng kso sa taong nambastos skin… sobrang kahihiyan na po kc ang nararanasan ko ngyn dahil hnd ko po alm kng pinaniniwalaan po ako ng ibang tao kc nga wlang nakakita at hnd ako nakapagsumbong agad at sa ngayn sya pa po ang mapafile ng kaso skin ng lebilo po.. ano po dapat kng gawin kailangan ko po ang advise nyo pls..

3. Ms Glenda Laboy - October 5, 2013

If you file sex hassment claim at the company you work for.Will you be able get hire another job.

dapinoyemployee - December 25, 2013

I don’t see why you will be barred from getting hired if you filed a sexual harassment claim at your former company. You were only protecting your rights as an employee. It’s up to the HR department of your new employer to do the background check on you. If they find out, then they find out. If the issue comes up during interview, it’s your choice whether to discuss it or not, although it may be better to be discreet.

dapinoyemployee - December 25, 2013

Pasensya na kung ngayon ko lang ito nasagot. Karapatan mo hindi lang bilang manggagawa kundi bilang babae na ipagtanggol ang sarili mo. May mga tao talaga na sasamantalahin ang akala nila ay kahinaan ng kapwa. Humingi ka ng tulong sa supervisor mo at sa inyong HR department. Ang mga kumpanya po ay merong mga company policies na puedeng makatulong sa problema mo dahil pinoproteksyunan nito ang karapatan nyo bilang empleyado. Ipaalam mo sa supervisor mo na ang reklamo mo ay hindi para manggulo o manira kundi para mabigyan ng katarungan ang pambabastos na iyun sa iyo, at sa pamamagitan noon ay matigil na ang ganyang klaseng pananamantala ng kasamahan mo sa trabaho. Sabihin mo na kapag hindi nabigyan ng atensyon at karampatang solusyon ang nangyari sa iyo ay maaari pa itong maulit at gawin sa iba. May mga tao talaga na namimihasa kapag nakalusot ang kalokohan.

Sa kasong libelo na gustong ifile sa iyo, ginagawa yan ng taong yun dahil napahiya sya at gusto lang din nyang ipagtanggol ang sarili nya. Wag kang matakot basta ba nagsasabi ka ng totoo. Kapag itinuloy ang libel case laban sa iyo, lumapit ka sa Public Attorney’s Office o PAO. Maaari kang matulungan ng mga abugado nila ng libre kung qualified indigent ka. Kung kumikita ka ng hindi sosobra sa P14,000 (kung sa Manila ka nakatira) o P12,000 to P13,000 (kung probinsya o ibang lugar).

Mag-ingat ka rin at manalig. Humingi ka rin ng suporta at unawa sa iyong asawa (kung ikaw ay married), anak, kapatid at mga kaibigan. Kung nasa tama ka wala kang dapat ikatakot.

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