Puerto Rico Enacts Law On Workplace Harassment

Published date11 August 2020
Law FirmLittler Mendelson
AuthorMs Anabel Rodríguez-Alonso and Alberto Tabales-Maldonado

On August 7, 2020, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Hon. Wanda V'zquez Garced, signed into law the "Act to Prohibit and Prevent Workplace Harassment in Puerto Rico," previously known as House Bill No. 306. The primary purpose of the Act is to prohibit and prevent abusive conduct against employees in the workplace that affects worker performance, alters workplace peace and threatens the dignity of employees.

The Act defines workplace harassment as actions and behavior that are:

malicious, unwanted, repetitive and abusive; arbitrary unreasonable and/or capricious; verbal, written and/or physical [performed] repeatedly by the employer, his agents, supervisors or employees, oblivious to the legitimate interests of the employer's company, are unwelcome, [violate the employee's] protected constitutional rights . . . . creat[ing] an intimidating humiliating, hostile or offensive work environment, not suitable for the reasonable person to perform their duties or tasks in a normal manner.

The Act provides a non-exhaustive list of conduct that can be considered workplace harassment, such as: injurious, defamatory or damaging expressions about the person, with the use of profanity hostile and humiliating comments about an individual's professional incompetence in the presence of co-workers; public comments or ridicule directed at the employee about physical appearance or dress; among other examples.

Employers will be held liable for the actions of their supervisors or other employees for conduct that is considered workplace harassment, if they knew of the harassment taking place and did nothing about it. On the other hand, if the employer can establish that it took immediate and appropriate action to remedy and stop the workplace harassment, then the employer will not be held liable.

The Act requires that employers adopt and implement internal rules and policies to eliminate or reduce the occurrence of workplace harassment, establish the procedure to investigate claims of workplace...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT