Congress punishes sexual harassment and homophobic and racist comments in a protocol for its workers

Coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the approval of the female vote in Spain and within the framework of the Equality Plan approved by the Cortes in 2020, the Tables of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate have approved a protocol of action against sexual harassment, the Harassment for reasons of sex and against all forms of harassment and violence that will be applied to the staff of both chambers and that will also protect the deputies and senators who suffer this type of behavior.

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The text, advanced by The Newspaper of Spain and to which has had access, it will be applied in its entirety "when the affected person and the allegedly aggressor belong to the civil servants of the Cortes Generales". But, in addition, in the event that one of the parties is not a civil servant, as is the case of the deputies and senators, the presidencies of the chambers must offer "measures to prevent harassment" and, where appropriate, advice or the necessary help to denounce the different situations, according to what parliamentary sources have explained to this newspaper.

The protocol was approved last Tuesday in a joint meeting of the Tables of Congress and the Senate and therefore comes 14 years after the Equality Law of 2007. It contemplates applying the disciplinary regime of the Staff Statute of the General Courts that may arrive to the suspension of employment and salary, and during the disciplinary procedure, "precautionary measures may be imposed aimed at guaranteeing the protection of the victim."

From now on, the chambers also establish a "special solution procedure" to expedite complaints, "of a rapid and confidential nature", and without prejudice to the corresponding disciplinary procedure or judicial proceedings in the event of any crime occurring.

Explicit description of the types of harassment

"Any person who carries out their work in the chambers has the obligation to inform their hierarchical superiors or confidential advice [que se creará a tal efecto] the cases of harassment that it knows, "says the text, which insists on the" obligation "of all persons with positions of responsibility" to pay attention and process, where appropriate "the complaints they receive.

The protocol provides an exhaustive description of all the types of harassment that will be pursued by the Courts. It explains that sexual harassment constitutes "any behavior, verbal or physical, of a sexual nature, that has the purpose or produces the effect of undermining the dignity of a person, in particular when an intimidating, degrading or offensive environment is created."

These behaviors include "suggestive and unpleasant remarks, jokes or comments about the appearance or sexual condition of the worker, obscene gestures and verbal abuse", as well as "requests for sexual favors" or "physical contact with sexual connotations and all sexual assault ". But also the dissemination of "documents, videos or images related to people's sexual lives, through social networks or any other means of communication, even if there had been consent."

Sexual harassment behaviors are also considered as "derogatory comments about women and, in general, sexist comments about women or men based on gender biases", the "demerit of professional worth due to the fact that motherhood "and even" hostile behavior towards any person who exercises their right to work-life balance, personal, family or professional. "

Against xenophobia and aporophobia

Likewise, behaviors that constitute discriminatory harassment will be considered racist, xenophobic, contrary to religious freedom, degrading towards people with disabilities, homophobic, related to sexual identity, classist or that denote aporophobia. And the protocol also includes psychological or moral harassment in the workplace.


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