COSTA RICA
 Health and Safety, and Environment

 Laws, Regulations, and Standards - in English

 

SEXUAL INCITEMENT OR HARASSMENT

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Law Against Sexual Harassment in Employment and Education, (Ley contra el Hostigamiento Sexual en el Empleo y la Docencia, No. 7476) was published on the 3rd  of March, 1995 that prohibits and sanctions the sexual incitement or harassment of women or men in the workplace or educational centers.

All employers are required to maintain respectful conditions for everyone in the workplace. An employer is obligated to prevent, avoid, and punish sexual harassment and incitement. There must be written and verbal training and an established procedure for complaints in the internal regulations of the workplace or in the union contracts.

 

WHAT IS SEXUAL INCITEMENT OR HARASSMENT?

Any sexual conduct that is undesired by the person that is the object of that conduct and that causes harmful effects in the following cases:

a) In employment or in educational centers

b) In the performance and compliance of work or of educational activities.

c) In the personal wellbeing of workers.

Examples:

  • Requests for sexual favors in exchange for better work conditions, promotions, study opportunities, better grades, etc.
  • The requirements of the employer, teacher, or professor to meet in places distinct from the workplace or place of education, under threats of imposing punishments in working conditions or lowering grades obtained in exams and homework.
  • The use of words of a sexual nature, physical contact, or other conduct offensive to the recipient of it.

HOW ARE COMPLAINTS MADE?

All sexual incitement or harassment must be reported to the employer. The process must be confidential and the responsible party will be sanctioned.

With respect to public institutions, all employers are obligated to report the complaints receive and the resulting decision from the Prosecutor for the Inhabitants of the Republic (Defensoría de los Habitantes de la República). With respect to the private sector all employers must report to the National Office of Labor Inspection (Dirección Nacional de Inspection de Trabajo).

The same applies to educational centers, where the student has the right to ask that the professor be sanctioned for sexual incitement or harassment.

GUARANTEES FOR THE COMPLAINANT AND WITNESS

No one that has complained that they are the victim of sexual incitement or harassment or has been a witness can suffer any type of personal prejudice in their employment or studies.

The person complaining of sexual incitement or harassment can only be dismissed for just cause, cause that is the result of the obligations derived from the labor contract, after authorization from the National Office of Labor Inspection (Dirección Nacional de Inspección de Trabajo).

If the person who has been harasses terminates his labor contract with employer responsibility or has been fired for that reason, he has the right to be paid the corresponding liquidations, for the payment of wages and other benefits, and to return to his job if he requests it. If he is a public employee he can opt for termination of the contract.

If the complaint is not directed to the employer or the procedure is not respected, the worker can terminate the contract with employer responsibility.

Derechos Reservados © 2008 Glenn McBride