The legislation introduces rights relating to timetable, functional and geographical flexibility, and the possible suspension or termination of employment contracts. On the other hand, employers are obliged to promote awareness and training of all staff for the purpose of avoiding sexual violence.

The changes in relation to employment that have been introduced in our legislation by Law 10/2022, of September 6, 2022 , for the full guarantee of sexual freedom, already in force, have not been sufficiently publicized. It is essential to list them briefly, because they are varied and are significant insofar as they affect employers.

On the one hand, we are faced with a series of measures aimed at guaranteeing for victims of sexual violence certain rights relating to timetable, functional and geographical flexibility, and to the suspension or termination of their contracts for the purpose of ensuring their protection or their right to comprehensive social assistance. Thus:

  • Victims of sexual violence are included among the groups that are entitled to adaptation of their job, reduction of working hours or adaptation of timetables, application of a flexible timetable or other forms of arrangement of working time that are used at the company.
  • They will also be entitled to perform their work in whole or in part remotely or to cease to do so if this is the system established, provided that it is compatible with the job and the functions carried out.
  • If a victim of sexual violence must leave her job, she will have a preferential right to hold another job in the same occupational group or equivalent category for which the company has a vacancy in any other of its work centers. The duration of this change was extended to a maximum of 12 months, during which there is an obligation to reserve the job that was previously held. When that period has elapsed, one will choose between returning to the previous job, remaining in the new one or termination of the contract receiving compensation of twenty days’ salary per year of service, subject to a maximum of twelve months’ salary.
  • This group is included among those entitled to seek termination or suspension of their employment contract. In the latter case, the suspension will be for an initial period not exceeding six months, although it may be extended by court decision for three-month periods, up to a maximum of a year and a half.
  • In relation to dismissals, any decision to terminate in relation to female workers that are victims of sexual violence are added to the cases of nullity due to violation of fundamental rights.
  • Absences from or lack of punctuality at work due to a physical or psychological situation arising from sexual violence will be considered justified and now will also be remunerated when this is found to exist by the social services or health service, as applicable, although such absences must be notified by the worker to the company as soon as possible.

On the other hand, apart from the rights included above, the law also introduces a list of duties for employers, all of them aimed at fulfilling the general obligation to promote awareness and training for the full protection from sexual violence of its entire staff. To be specific:

  • Employers must promote working conditions that prevent the commission of offenses and other conduct in violation of sexual freedom and moral integrity at work, particularly emphasizing sexual harassment and gender-based harassment.
  • They must arrange specific procedures for the prevention of this type of conduct and to provide a channel for complaints or claims that may be lodged by those who have been victims of such conduct, specifically including that suffered in a digital environment.
  • Employers must also include sexual violence among the existing labor risks in the assessment of risks of jobs held by their female employees, and must train and inform such employees in this respect.

In conclusion, we are faced with a new set of obligations that are going to require employers to approve or review the contents of protocols or procedures already in existence in their organizations, and to provide specific training to prevent and detect sexual violence.

Mercedes Antón

Garrigues Labor and Employment Department