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  • The San Juan Daily Star

PIP rejects administrative fines in case of alleged sexual harassment

Puerto Rican Independence Party Vice President María de Lourdes Santiago Negrón, at lectern

By John McPhaul

The leadership of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) said Wednesday that the leaking of a harassment complaint by the Office of the Women’s Advocate, which includes three administrative fines against the PIP for a sum of $30,000, shows that the office’s review of the complaint was inconclusive.

“If there had been the slightest evidence of harassment, digital harassment, sexual harassment, Mrs. [former Women’s Advocate Lersy] Boria had ample opportunity to make determinations about that, because I repeat, the evidence was in her possession,” PIP Vice President María de Lourdes Santiago Negrón said at a press conference.

“But since the evidence was so clear that they could not misrepresent that this had happened, that is why in that very long document there was no accusation of harassment or bullying,” she added. “What in effect constitutes that document signed on her last day by Lersy Boria is a confirmation of the findings and determination of the Special Commission in all substantive aspects of a corroboration of the correctness of the processes. We reiterate that with all the evidence in her hands, the undersecretary of state was unable to reach any conclusion about the existence of bullying or harassment.”

“The only certain fact, which according to attorney Boria deserves the punishment of $30,000, is that the PIP did not have protocols and regulations for its employees covered by Law 17, which is the Law on Sexual Harassment in Employment, and Law 90 of 2020, which is Workplace Harassment,” Santiago Negrón said.

The complaint was leaked on Tuesday and contains the signature of Boria, the outgoing women’s advocate. The complaint was filed on Aug. 5, the day Boria resigned as women’s advocate to move to a position at the State Department.

According to the document, the PIP is charged with an administrative fine of $10,000 for violating Law 17 of 1988, which requires employers to have a place free of harassment and a protocol for handling such cases. Also, another fine of $10,000 is imposed for failing to comply with the public policy of Law 20 of 2001 to promote policies in favor of women, and the third fine, for $10,000, is for a violation of Law 90 of 2020 by not having a protocol or internal policies necessary to prevent, discourage and avoid workplace harassment.

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