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Public Defender Founds Sexual Harassment in Labour Relations

On 16 October 2019, the Public Defender of Georgia has found sexual harassment committed by the head of a private company. The applicant's interests were represented at the Public Defender's Office by the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association.

According to the case materials, the applicant was working as an intern in the company. The applicant alleges she was subjected to verbal and physical actions of undesirable sexual nature his her supervisor, causing a degrading work environment, as a result of which, the applicant was forced to quit. The evidence provided by the applicant backed the factual circumstances indicated by her, while the respondent’s argument was not sufficient to dispel the suspicion.

After studying the case materials, including information about the interrogation of the parties, audio recordings, as well as information obtained from third parties, the Public Defender came to a conclusion that the head of the company was involved in an undesirable, verbal and physical behavior of sexual nature in relation to the applicant, which created a degrading and abusive environment for the applicant.

In view of the above, the Public Defender of Georgia recommended that the respondent refrained from being engaged in sexual harassment and creating an abusive, degrading and inappropriate work environment for individuals in the future, in professional or other relationship. In addition, the Public Defender urged the company, in accordance with Article 9, paragraph 9, of the Organic Law of Georgia, to incorporate non-discriminatory provisions into its internal regulations, collective agreements and other documents, ensure their implementation and take measures to ensure the protection of the principle of equal treatment in the workplace.

It should be noted that as a result of the sexual harassment information campaign and its legislative regulation in February 2019, the rate of referral to the Public Defender increased with regard to the above issue. The Public Defender reiterates her support to alleged victims of sexual harassment and expresses her readiness to continue to work on similar cases within her mandate.

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