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How does Cyprus protect women from harassment at work?

How does Cyprus protect women from sexual harassment at work?

July 12 2018 LJ cover – Как Кипр защищает женщин от домогательств на работе?
Tags: Cyprus, Women, Work, Rights, Sex, Society, Laws

In the US, employers in communication with subordinates have already learned to control every word and every gesture, so as not to get a summons to the court on charges of sexual harassment. In Cyprus, however, cases of harassment (from the English harassment - sexual harassment, usually with the use of official position) is becoming more and more. The Office of the Ombudsman developed a "Code of Conduct" for civil servants aimed at counteracting harassment in the workplace.

The law says

  • Legislation of the Republic of Cyprus regards sexual harassment in the workplace as a criminal offense.
  • The maximum penalty for harassment is up to six months in prison and / or a fine up to 12 000 euro.

"Code of Conduct"

On Wednesday, 11 July, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Cyprus, Maria Lottidis, presented a "Code of Conduct" aimed at preventing cases of harassment, as well as detailed instructions for the authorities when they received complaints about harassment at work. A similar "Code" for the private sector of the Cypriot economy is in the process of development.

The document explains what is harassment, sexual harassment, unwanted behavior and sexual behavior, and also provides instructions for employees how to prevent harassment and what to do if it does happen. All complaints must be treated strictly confidential.

The head of the Parliamentary Committee for Gender Equality, Louise Zaette-Christodulidou, noted that the heads of state departments and departments are responsible for their collectives and are obligated to do everything possible to prevent the occurrence of harassment cases:

Otherwise, the employer bears part of the responsibility along with the one who has molested. That is why the Republic of Cyprus was forced to pay compensation for the actions of its employees [heads and directors of departments and services], because necessary steps were not taken to prevent [cases of harassment].

Complaints of sexual harassment

According to the Office of the Ombudsman, at the moment there are eight complaints about harassment in the workplace. Decisions on them have not yet been taken. The earliest of the complaints was registered in 2015 year. In some cases cases on harassment charges reach the court, and victims receive material compensation for moral damage.

  • In April 2016, the court decided to pay an employee of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Cyprus 22 000 euro for the fact that the state could not protect the victim from sexual harassment and unworthy behavior of her boss.
  • A nurse from a state hospital received 5000 евро For being a victim of the harassment of a medical doctor.

You need to know your rights

According to the head of the supervisory council for the observance of equal rights for the sexes of Anna Pilavaki, she receives dozens of complaints from women, both married and single, who have sexually harassed their bosses or immediate superiors with a smaller caliber.

If men are denied, women begin to have trouble at work: nagging, unreasonable workloads and official comments. Often ladies do not want to publicize this fact, preferring to forget about it. In some cases, the only way out is to leave.

Cypriots call the SEK trade union to get advice on how to get out of the predicament without much loss. According to the trade union, women are afraid of publicity for many reasons: mistrust of the husband, rejection of the spouse's family, public condemnation, etc. In many cases, the fairer sex is not aware of their rights.

Women do not know that sexual harassment in the workplace is a criminal offense and that in the event of a claim to the court, the defendant, rather than the victim [harassment], should provide evidence of his innocence, "recalls SEK.

Portrait of a sex aggressor

According to researchers from the European University of Cyprus, who interviewed 650 women, every tenth Cypriot woman was sexually harassed at least once in her life. It is clear that the real problem is much larger, but this topic is still a taboo for many residents of the island of Aphrodite.

The portrait of a sexual aggressor in Cypriot looks like this: a married man occupying a higher post. Harassment manifests itself from hints of frank content, touches with sexual overtones and tweaks to suggestions to continue flirting outside the office or enter into an intimate relationship in exchange for moving up the career ladder.

The Ombudsman Office of Cyprus conducts trainings for representatives of the police, social services, health sector employees, teachers, prosecutors, journalists and representatives of the immigration service and the labor department, during which they talk about the practice of identifying cases of harassment and working with their victims.

And here was another case

A kiss is not an insult

55-year-old police officer denied his guilt in the case of insulting the action. 31 December 2002 year, according to the co-defendant of the defendant, he embraced her, using force, and kissed her on the lips. After that he told her: "I really like you. Why do not we both go somewhere. And, maybe, something [between us] will happen? "

The incident occurred at the height of the working day. Initially, the officer was charged with another charge - sexual harassment. However, later this charge was dropped, because the law, which pursues sexual harassment in the workplace, entered into force on 1 January 2003, that is, a few hours after the incident.

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