House passes new sexual harassment bill

November 17, 2018

ANYONE committing sexual harassment won’t get a slap on the wrist.

The House of Representatives, has passed the House Bill 8244, which increases the punishment against sexual harassment.

The Expanded Anti-Sexual Harassment approved on third and final reading aims to impose graver punishment on individuals committing the crime.

In the existing Republic Act. No. 7877 or the “Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995,”  any person, upon conviction, was penalized  with one to six months of imprisonment, or a fine of P10,000 to P20,000, or both at the discretion of the court.

However, under the new proposed law, violators shall be penalized with imprisonment of one to six months, or a fine of P50,000 to P200,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.

If the perpetrator is found to be an individual who has authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another’s work, training or education, maximum penalties shall be imposed.

The measure also ensures the victim’s right to privacy at any stage of the investigation, prosecution, and trial of an offense. Any person who contravenes this provision shall be fined with P20,000 to P50,000.

In addition, harassment victims shall not be prohibited from instituting a separate and independent action for damages and other affirmative relief, apart from the administrative sanctions enforced by the employer or head of office.