Sexual harassment made criminally prosecutable in Georgia
Sexual harassment is now criminally prosecutable in Georgia, after parliament unanimously voted to pass a bill in its third reading.
Why was the law needed?
Until now, there has been no concept of sexual harassment in Georgian law, and accordingly, there was no criminal responsibility for such actions.
What is considered sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment will be defined as an undesirable behavior of a sexual nature in public places, which aims and at or entails the vulnerability of an individual’s dignity and creates a threatening, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.
Sexual behavior refers to the expression and / or treatment of a sexual nature, the demonstration of one’s sexual organs, any verbal, non-verbal and / or any other physical action of a sexual nature.
How will offenders be punished?
Sexual harassment will incur a fine of 300 GEL (about 111 dollars) in the form of administrative punishment. In case of repeated violation within one year – a fine of 500 GEL (about $185) or correctional labour for up to one month.
However, sexual harassment, consciously committed against a minor, a person in a helpless state, a person with disabilities or in the presence of a minor, will warrant a fine to the amount of 500 to 800 GEL ($185-295). And if this action is repeated within one year – a fine of 800 to 1000 GEL ($295-370), correctional labor for up to one month or administrative detention for up to 10 days.
In January 2018, the court found with Tatia Samkharadze, who accused her boss, the famous TV host Shalva Ramishvili, of sexual harassment. She became the first woman in Georgia to go to court for sexual harassment.
The court ordered Ramishvili to pay 2000 GEL ($740) to his former employee for moral damages.
In March 2018, at least 10 women accused the head of the NGO Center for Civil Development (CIDA), well-known human rights activist Zviad Devdariani, of sexual harassment. The stories of women were made public without indicating their identity.
Devdariani denies the charges, but was forced to leave the organization.