TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian parliament on Thursday rejected a proposal to criminalize sexual harassment in the work place and in public places.
During the last year, about 50 complaints about sexual harassment have been filed with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and two with the Ombudsman’s Office.
The bill would set punishment for verbal or physical assault in the work place to a 500 lari fine, but 1,000 in case of repeat offenses.
The punishment for sexual assault against a subordinate would be a 2,000 lari fine, but 2,500 laris if it is repeated.
The bill was proposed by MPs Tamar Khidasheli and Tamar Kordzaia, both from the Republican Party.
Khidasheli told DFWatch earlier that one of the reasons they decided to submit the bill to parliament was the case at Imedi TV in April, when actress and anchor Tatia Samkharadze accused her producer Shalva Ramishvili of sexual harassment.
Khidasheli said that they had consultations with the Ombudsman’s Office, which has received two complaints about sexual harassment during the last year, while about 50 cases have reached the police.
The bill, however, didn’t explain specifically what kind of action would be considered sexual harassment. Khidasheli explained that it was not reasonable to include such explanations in the law and that it would depend on each individual case.
But the lack of a clear definition was what the MIA criticized the bill for. The ministry claimed it was too vague and that it would have been complicated to identify cases of sexual harassment and classifying them.