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X. Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995

1. CONCEPT

Workplace sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor, or agent of an employer, or any other person who has authority over another in a work environment, imposes sexual favors on another, which creates in an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for the latter. (LBC Express-Vis, Inc. v. Palco, G.R. No. 217101, 12 February 2020)

At the core of sexual harassment in the workplace, as penalized by Republic Act No. 7877, otherwise known as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, is abuse of power by a superior over a subordinate. (Escandor v. People, G.R. No. 211962, 06 July 2020)

2. CRIMES

a. Work, education or training-related sexual harassment

Work, education or training-related sexual harassment is committed by an employer, employee, manager, supervisor, agent of the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor, or any other person who, having authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another in a work or training or education environment, demands, requests or otherwise requires any sexual favor from the other, regardless of whether the demand, request or requirement for submission is accepted by the object of said Act. (Section 3, R.A. 7877, Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995)

1) Work-related or employment environment

In a work-related or employment environment, sexual harassment is committed when:

1) The sexual favor is made as a condition in the hiring or in the employment, re-employment or continued employment of said individual, or in granting said individual favorable compensation, terms, conditions, promotions, or privileges; or the refusal to grant the sexual favor results in limiting, segregating or classifying the employee which in any way would discriminate, deprive or diminish employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect said employee;

2) The above acts would impair the employee’s rights or privileges under existing labor laws; or,

3) The above acts would result in an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for the employee. (Section 3[a], Ibid.)

a) Work-related or employment environment

An employer’s insensibility to a complainant-employee’s sexual harassment case is a ground for constructive dismissal. (LBC Express-Vis, Inc. v. Palco, supra.)

1) Education or training environment, sexual harassment

In an education or training environment, sexual harassment is committed:

1) Against one who is under the care, custody or supervision of the offender;

2) Against one whose education, training, apprenticeship or tutorship is entrusted to the offender;

3) When the sexual favor is made a condition to the giving of a passing grade, or the granting of honors and scholarships, or the payment of a stipend, allowance or other benefits, privileges, or considerations; or,

4) When the sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the student, trainee or apprentice. (Section 3[b], Ibid.)

CO-PRINCIPAL: Any person who directs or induces another to commit any act of sexual harassment as herein defined, or who cooperates in the commission thereof by another without which it would not have been committed, shall also be held liable under this Act. (Last paragraph, Section 3, Ibid.)

3. THREE-FOLD LIABILITY

Sexual harassment engenders three-fold liability: criminal, to address the wrong committed against society itself; civil, to address the private wrong against the offended party; and administrative, to protect the public service. Courts and administrative bodies should not hesitate to penalize insidious acts of sexual harassment, especially when committed by high-ranking public officers. (Escandor v. People, supra.)

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