The Puerto Rico Department of Labor issues model protocol to prevent and manage sexual harassment cases in the workplace

On October 30, 2022, the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources (“PRDOL”) published the anticipated model protocol to prevent and manage sexual harassment cases which may be adopted by employers to comply with the requirement of Act No. 82-2022 (“Act 82”) which amended Act No. 17 of April 22, 1988 (“Act 17”). Attached is the letter issued by the Secretary of the PRDOL on October 28, 2022, announcing the publication of the model protocol and the model protocol for your easy reference.


Alternatively, employers may also prepare their own protocols if they include provisions equal or superior to those included in the model protocol and Section 5 of Act 17, as amended by Act 82. The PRDOL recommends employers to initially adopt the model protocol for compliance purposes, but to later revise it or adopt a new compliant protocol that adapts to their workplace, if needed. Kindly be advised that the model protocol does not include a complaint form, which per Act 82 is supposed to be designed by the PRDOL and be included in such protocol. Such complaint form is to be used by employees to denounce incidents of sexual harassment and must include, among others, a space to state if there have been previous complaints of sexual harassment.


Moreover, the PRDOL renewed a collaboration agreement with the Women’s Advocate Office (“OPM” for its Spanish acronym) to verify employers’ compliance with the adoption of domestic violence protocols pursuant to Act No. 217-2006 and, as per the newly enacted Act 82, sexual harassment protocols. The PRDOL informs that the inspections will be carried out by the Puerto Rico Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“PROSHA”) division that will refer noncompliant employers to the OPM. The PRDOL further notifies that the intention of this collaboration is not a punitive one, but rather, to provide guidance and help employers to comply with the law in an effort to reduce domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. During these visits, educational material will be provided, and technical guidance will be available for the drafting of the protocols. Thereafter, employers will be granted a term in which to comply and, if not, they will be referred by PROSHA to the OPM, which could result in administrative fines.

Lastly, the PRDOL informed that an announcement will be made shortly as to the availability of the portal, www.hostigamientosexual.pr.gov, for employees to file their complaints which may trigger formal investigations or actions by the government agencies.
Should you need any assistance with the implementation of these protocols or the revision of your current policies, please contact us at your convenience.