Last Friday, October 7, Organic Law 10/2022, of September 6, on the Integral Guarantee of Sexual Freedom, better known as the “Only Yes is Yes Law”, came into force, which modifies the criminal liability regime of legal persons.

The implementation of detection and eradication policies and reaction protocols are considered, now with more reasons, essential.

Focusing on the main novelties provided by the standard in the workplace, we highlight:

  • From the point of view of prevention and awareness in the workplace, companies will be obliged to promote working conditions that prevent the commission of crimes and other behaviors against sexual freedom and moral integrity at work, with particular emphasis on sexual harassment and harassment based on sex.
  • The companies must arbitrate specific procedures for its prevention and to give channel to the complaints or claims that may be formulated by those who have been victims of these conducts, specifically including those suffered in the digital realm.

Concrete measures to adopt

  • Preparation and dissemination of codes of good practice.
  • Carrying out information campaigns, action protocols or training actions, which must be negotiated with the workers’ representatives, from which the entire workforce can benefit, regardless of the form of hiring.
  • Companies that strictly adhere to the provisions of this Organic Law will be recognized with the distinction of “Companies for a society free of gender violence”. When circumstances arise that justify it, such concession will be reviewed and may be withdrawn, if necessary.

The criminal liability of companies

The LO expands the catalog of crimes to include some behaviors related to crimes against moral integrity (degrading treatment) and crimes of sexual harassment.

  • Regarding the crime against moral integrity, article 173.1 of the CP (criminal code) is modified, in relation to conducts that threaten the moral integrity of people, generating criminal liability for legal entities for the first time. From now on, legal persons may be sentenced when any member of their organization infringes another person with degrading treatment, which seriously undermines their moral integrity.

The penalty of a fine will be from six months to two years, which implies a minimum amount of 5,400 euros and a maximum of 3,600,000 euros, in accordance with the graduation of the penalty of fine of art. 50.4 of the PC.

  • Likewise, the wording of the crime of sexual harassment is modified (art. 184 of the CP). Specifically, it will generate responsibility those conducts linked to the request for favors of a sexual nature, for oneself or for a third party, within the scope of an employment, teaching, provision of services or similar relationship, continuous or habitual, that provoke in the victim an objectively and seriously intimidating, hostile or humiliating situation.

In the same way, as in the case of the crime of moral integrity, when a legal person is responsible for sexual harassment, a fine of six months to two years will be imposed.

  • Another modification to highlight is the expansion of the crime of revealing secrets (art. 197 of the CP) that will punish whoever, without the authorization of the affected person, disseminates, reveals or transfers to third parties’ images or audiovisual recordings of that person seriously undermining their personal privacy.

Implementation of a “Compliance” system

All of the above will force companies to implement a “compliance” system, to update or carry out a new risk analysis to determine the possible commission of this type of crime in their structure. Companies must establish measures to avoid the crimes previously described.

The implementation of detection and eradication policies and reaction protocols are considered essential in any company to avoid fines, which could reach 3,600,000 euros.

If you want more information, you can contact the labor department, or if you prefer you can contact us through our form by clicking here.