New Telegraph

Taiwan Amends Sexual Harassment Bill

During a special session of the legislature on Monday, Taiwan amended three laws relating to sexual harassment in response to a surge of #MeToo allegations that hit its island in June.

According to the report, new changes were approved that increase penalties and extend the amount of time victims have to report incidents to authorities.

The changes are in an attempt to address the issues raised by the recent accusations of sexual violence in Taiwan.

Taiwan has three laws governing sexual harassment: one for the workplace, one for schools and one that covers all other areas.

Under the workplace law, employers can now be fined up to about $32,000 if they fail to address sexual harassment complaints.

Employers are also required to report cases to the local division of their labour department.

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The education law, as amended on Friday, explicitly makes it illegal for educators to have a romantic relationship with their students under the age of 18.

Furthermore, principals and teachers who fail to report to the Ministry of Education a sexual harassment allegation within 24 hours can be fined.

Legislators also extended the penalty for sexual harassment to three years in jail under the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act and raised the heaviest fine to $19,000.

Taiwan’s #MeToo movement was reignited in May when a young woman who worked for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party accused movie director Hsueh Chao-hue of groping her and making unwanted sexual advances.

Chen Chien-jou, who identified herself publicly while making the accusation, wrote that she did not just want to let it go, quoting a line from a Taiwanese TV show, “Wavemakers.”

More accusations of sexual harassment followed from other women against politicians, before spreading to other areas including entertainment, music and schools.

The new amendments also plug certain loopholes, such as requiring small businesses and companies with between 11 and 30 employees to set up mechanisms for reporting sexual harassment.

However, small businesses were previously exempt from such a requirement.

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