Last October 7, Organic Law 10/2022, of September 6, on the integral guarantee of sexual freedom, came into force.
In its article 12, it contemplates the commission of crimes and other conducts against sexual freedom and moral integrity at work, more specifically crimes of sexual harassment and crimes of harassment because of gender reasons.
In this way, certain obligations of conduct are imposed on companies. If not, there will be companies sanctioned for harassment in the work place.
Companies must establish specific procedures to facilitate complaints or claims that can be filed by all victims of harassment, including those that may arise in the digital environment.
They may also implement measures such as drawing up and disseminating codes of good practice, conducting information campaigns and establishing protocols for action.
Who can benefit from these measures?
The above-mentioned measures are available to the company’s employees, independently of their job position and type of contract.
Criminal liability for the company.
The new Organic Law modifies the Criminal Code, extending the list of offenses that may be imposed on legal entities (art. 31 bis of the Criminal Code).
One of the articles to be modified is article 173.1 PC, referring to the crime against moral integrity. The company will be criminally sanctioned when an employee engages in degrading conduct against another, which seriously undermines his or her moral integrity.
An example of this is a worker who speaks to a female colleague with provocations of a sexual nature, causing a situation of intimidation and disrespect for her moral integrity.
Another article of the Penal Code that has been modified is article 184, referring to the crime of sexual harassment. The redaction of this article is modified, punishing anyone who requests favors of a sexual nature for himself or for a third party, in a work, teaching or service provision environment, causing the victim a serious situation of intimidation, hostility or humiliation.
Lastly, the crime of modification of secrets of art. 197 of the Penal Code is modified, which will punish anyone who, without the authorization of the affected party, disseminates, discloses or transfers to third parties images or recordings of the affected party, causing a serious harm to his personal privacy.
In recent years, employees of Spanish companies have disseminated images and recordings of an intimate and personal nature of the victim, and in some of these cases the victim has even taken his own life as a result of these disseminations.
How can companies prevent sexual harassment?
Companies will have the duty to promote awareness on this issue, in addition to providing training to their employees to achieve comprehensive protection of sexual freedom of all its staff.
In addition, they will have the obligation to include sexual violence as one of the occupational risks present in the risk assessment of the different jobs of the workers, and they will have to train and inform all their workers about it.
All these measures will lead companies to achieve a correct implementation of the Compliance system, updating or drafting a new risk analysis in order to be able to detect a possible commission of this type of crime.
In short, companies must establish all the necessary measures to prevent all conduct that acts against the sexual freedom of their employees, implementing policies to stop and eradicate punishable conduct, as well as offering channels for victims of such conduct to report the treatment they have suffered.
Otherwise, the result will be the existence of numerous companies sanctioned for not preventing situations of sexual harassment in the workplace.