Earlier this month, on January 3, 2020, the Governor of Puerto Rico signed Act No. 9-2020, known as the “Working Women’s Bill of Rights Act” (“the Act”).
In general terms, the Act proposes to serve as a tool to educate working women about the different labor and employment laws enacted throughout the years in order to eradicate discrimination against women in the workforce.
The Act recognizes that it is a general, non-exhaustive, compilation of rights of private and public sector working women’s rights recognized throughout the years by way of various statutes. Article 3 of the Act includes a list of twenty (20) women’s rights (“Carta de Derechos de la Mujer Trabajadora”), including that: women shall not be discriminated in the workplace and in salary-wise determinations based on gender; shall not be terminated without just cause and shall receive severance payment if terminated without just cause; employer shall guarantee to implement the necessary actions to protect women from discrimination in the workplace; provide paid maternity leave after childbirth and adoption (considering the child’s age); employer shall reserve the employee’s job while on maternity (or adoption) leave; employee shall not be terminated, suspended, discriminated or receive a reduction in salary as consequence of a reduction in productivity due to pregnancy; have a designated place for nursing; be provided time to nurse or pump breast milk; provide a workplace free from harassment; women shall not receive unsolicited sexual advances as a condition to be recruited or retain a job; employer shall not retaliate against a woman that files a complaint, testifies or participates in an investigation related to discriminatory practices in employment; women shall be protected from domestic violence in employment; the workplace shall be kept free from sexual harassment and intimidation; and the employer shall establish an adequate internal procedure to work on sexual harassment complaints.
The Act specifically provides that all public offices, government agencies, public corporations, municipalities and private employers with two or more employees are required to exhibit the Women’s Bill of Rights in a place accessible to all employees and visitors. The Office of the Ombudsman for Women jointly with the Puerto Rico Department of Labor, will design the posters with the information that needs to be posted by employers.
The Act is for informative purposes only. It does not limit rights acquired through special legislation or regulations nor does it create new rights that may be enforceable before administrative agencies or the judicial branch. Violations to the rights included in the Act will allow for a damages claim, subject to the current civil and/or penal legal framework.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the Act or if you’d like assistance to revise or modify your practices and policies accordingly, please contact any of the following attorneys from our Labor & Employment Practice Group at your convenience:
|Juan J. Casillas Ayala
|Luis F. Llach-Zúñiga
|Israel Fernández Rodríguez
|Luis R. Ramos Cartagena
The content of this Newsletter has been prepared for information purposes only. It is not intended as, does not constitute and should not be construed as, either legal advice or solicitation of any prospective client. An attorney-client relationship with Casillas, Santiago & Torres LLC (CST) cannot be formed by reading or responding to this Newsletter. Such a relationship may be formed only by express engagement with CST.