The Parliament of Georgia endorsed with its third hearing on May 3 amendments to the Labor Code and a number of other laws, introducing the definition of sexual harassment, as well as administrative penalties for such offenses.
Changes to the Labor Code classify sexual harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination at workplace, and define the term as “an unwelcome sexual conduct aiming at/or causing intimidating, hostile, humiliating or degrading environment.”
The amendments bill mandates the Public Defender to examine alleged cases of sexual harassment, seek explanations from employers and issue recommendations. The Public Defender is also entitled to refer the cases to court, shall it decide that recommendations have not been fulfilled.
Another batch of amendments, introduced to the Administrative Offenses Code, sets penalties for sexual harassment in public spaces. The law uses identical definition of the term as in the Labor Code, but clarifies the meaning of “sexual conduct,” which is understood as verbal and/or physical conduct of sexual nature.
According to the amendments, when offenders are found guilty of sexual harassment in public spaces, the following penalties may be imposed:
- GEL 300 fine for first offense;
- GEL 500 fine or corrective labor for up to one month when offense is repeated within one year from imposing a fine;
- From GEL 500 to GEL 800 when victim is underage, pregnant, vulnerable, disabled or when offense is carried out in presence of an underage;
- From GEL 800 to GEL 1000 or corrective labor for up to one month or administrative imprisonment for up to 10 days when offense against underage, pregnant, vulnerable, disabled or in presence of an underage is repeated within one year from imposing a fine.
The amendments bill was elaborated by the Parliament’s Gender Equality Council and was sponsored by seven lawmakers – six from the ruling Georgian Dream party (Tamar Chugoshvili, Tamar Khulordava, Dimitri Tskitishvili, Rati Ioanatamishvili, Guguli Magradze, Endzela Machavariani) and one from the opposition European Georgia (Giorgi Tugushi).
The amendments bill obtained 100 votes in favor and zero against.