Public Defender Finds Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
On August 29, 2022, the Public Defender of Georgia established sexual harassment in labour relations and addressed the harasser and the employer, Director General of JSC Hotel and Restaurant Management Group - M Group, with a recommendation.
The manager of the company used to send text messages of sexual content to his newly hired employee, which created an unwelcoming and hostile environment for the applicant. After some time, the respondent stopped sending messages and presented his behavior as a joke.
Based on the analysis of the circumstances and evidence in the case, the Public Defender considered that the company's manager committed sexual harassment. The Public Defender explained to the respondent that the cessation of sexual behavior does not constitute a circumstance ruling out sexual harassment, and that even a joke, if it contains sexual content and is unacceptable to the addressee, is an expression of sexual harassment.
In the mentioned decision, the Public Defender also evaluated the effectiveness of the response of the employing company and considered that the company failed to ensure proper protection of the employee's rights. The Public Defender, on the one hand, called on the harasser to stop sexual harassment in the workplace or anywhere else and not to create an environment that is offensive, humiliating and inappropriate for the person’s dignity, and on the other hand, appealed to JSC Hotel and Restaurant Management Group - M Group to effectively examine cases of alleged sexual harassment in the future, so that the company’s internal regulations relating to the elimination of sexual harassment do not have only a formal character.