Puerto Rico employers take note: new law expands sexual harassment obligations
On September 28, 2022, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia signed Act 82-2022 into law, expanding protections against sexual harassment in the workplace and imposing new obligations on employers.
Act 82-2022 provides for three significant amendments to Act 17-1988, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace:
- First, Act 82-2022 expands the definition of the term “employees” pursuant to Act 17-1988 to include paid and unpaid interns.
- Second, it requires all employers to adopt a Protocol for Managing Situations of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. A standard protocol will be published by the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Relations; employers can choose to adopt this standard protocol or design their own. If an employer chooses to design their own protocol, it must meet a specific set of requirements. These requirements include:
- designating personnel in charge of handling sexual harassment claims and their responsibilities
- providing examples of prohibited conduct which constitute sexual harassment and
- attaching a form for submission of complaints, among others.
- Finally, the act provides for the creation of a government website where individuals will be able to find information regarding workplace sexual harassment laws in Puerto Rico and submit complaints regarding sexual harassment issues.
Act 82-2022 went into effect immediately after its approval. Accordingly, employers are encouraged to immediately review their sexual harassment protocols to ensure compliance.
For more information, please contact the authors or your DLA Piper relationship attorney.