Sexual harassment reports in gov't offices rose by 7.5% in 2020

The increase in cases occurred despite the significant decrease in workplace interaction due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sexual harassment victim [Illustrative] (photo credit: INIMAGE)
Sexual harassment victim [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Reports of sexual harassment and sexual offenses in government offices rose by 7.5% in 2020, with 230 complaints filed, compared to 214 complaints in 2019, according to an annual report published by the Civil Service Commission’s disciplinary department.
The number of claims filed to the commission’s disciplinary court also increased, from 15 in 2019 to 20 last year.
The commission report stressed that the increase in cases happened despite the significant decrease in workplace interaction due to the coronavirus outbreak which led to closures when many workers went on leave for long periods.
The report added that the increase in complaints may be due to increased trust that the commission will handle such cases.
“We still believe that the amount of referrals does not indicate the sexual harassment incidents that actually occur in reality, which are necessarily significantly more numerous,” wrote the report. “Despite the difficulties, we continue to fight a bitter war against this phenomenon, as evidenced by the serious lawsuits we have filed and the complex cases we have dealt with over the past year. We will continue and not let go of our just struggle, and we will invest all our energy in handling these cases.”
The handling of 127 files was completed in 2020. About 370 cases remained open at year’s end.
A large portion of the complaints filed in 2020 were from the Health and Education Ministries, with 60 reports from the Health Ministry and 57 reports from the Education Ministry.
The commission stressed that while there have been large increases in complaints filed in the past three years, the Department of Discipline and the Investigations Department have not received more manpower, which has negatively impacted their ability to handle cases.
Reports can be filed to either the Department of Discipline or the Department of Gender Equality in the Civil Service Commission and all reports are handled by the Department of Discipline.