Notes on sexual harassment (RA 7877)

Solidary Liability. The employer or head of office or the educational or training institution are solidarily liable for damages arising from the acts of sexual harassment committed in an employment, education or training environment, if such employer or head of office or educational or training institution is informed of such acts by the offended party and no immediate action is taken thereon.

Separate and Independent Action. The victim of sexual harassment is not precluded from instituting a separate and independent action for damages and other affirmative reliefs.

Prescription. Any action arising from sexual harassment prescribes in three (3) years.

Imprisonment/Fine. Any person who violates the provisions of R.A. No. 7877 shall, upon conviction, be penalized by imprisonment of not less than one (1) month nor more than six (6) months, or a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) nor more than twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) , or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.

Dr. Rico S. Jacutin v. People (G.R. No. 140604; March 6, 2002): This case illustrates the proper penalty imposable on the violator. Here, the Supreme Court affirmed the Sandiganbayan’s decision finding Dr. Rico Jacutin y Salcedo guilty of the crime of sexual harassment defined and punished under R.A. No. 7877, particularly Sections 3 and 7 thereof, and penalizing him with imprisonment of six (6) months and to pay a fine of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Additionally, he was ordered to indemnify the offended party, Juliet Yee, in the amount of P30,000.00 and P20,000.00 by way of moral damages and exemplary damages, respectively.