AmCham Taiwan’s Policy on Prevention, Complaint, and Investigation of Sexual Harassment

1. AmCham Taiwan (hereinafter referred to as “the Chamber”) has established this policy to safeguard workplace gender equality and provide a work and service environment free from sexual harassment for employees and service recipients, prevent incidents of sexual harassment, establish a channel for reporting such incidents, and protect the rights of the parties involved.

This policy is based on the “Act of Gender Equality in Employment,” “Regulations for Establishing Measures of Prevention, Correction, Complaint and Punishment of Sexual Harassment at Workplace,” “Sexual Harassment Prevention Act,” and “Regulations of Sexual Harassment Prevention,” and it is publicly disclosed.

2. The handling of sexual harassment incidents within the Chamber shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this policy, except where otherwise stipulated by law.

3. This policy applies to all levels of supervisors within the Chamber in relation to their subordinates, interactions between employees, interactions between employees and service recipients, and any complaints of sexual harassment lodged against employees. If the alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment is not an employee of the Chamber, the Chamber shall provide assistance to the victim in exercising their rights in accordance with the law.

4. The term “sexual harassment” referred to in this policy includes the following situations:

a) Sexual harassment under the Act of Gender Equality in Employment:

I. When any person, in the course of performing their duties, uses words or engages in behavior that involves sexual requests, has sexual connotations, or exhibits gender discrimination, resulting in a hostile, coercive, or offensive work environment that violates or disrupts the individual’s dignity, personal freedom, or affects their job performance.

II. When employers, supervisors at all levels, or individuals with managerial or supervisory authority in the context of employment misuse their power, opportunities, or methods to make explicit or implicit sexual requests, use words, behaviors, images, or other means with sexual connotations or gender discrimination as conditions for the establishment, continuation, modification, distribution, allocation, remuneration, performance appraisal, promotion, demotion, rewards, or disciplinary measures related to labor contracts.

b) Sexual harassment as defined in the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act:

Behaviors related to sex or gender, other than sexual offenses, that are carried out against the will of another person, and meet one of the following criteria:

I. Using such behavior to obtain, lose, or diminish the conditions related to rights and benefits in relation to work, education, training, services, programs, or activities from said person, based on their compliance or refusal.

II. Displaying or transmitting text, pictures, sound, images, or other materials in a manner that causes damage to the dignity of others, or using discriminatory or insulting words or actions, or other means that create an environment of fear, hostility, or offense, or in other ways inappropriately affect their work, education, training, services, programs, activities, or everyday life.

c) If the perpetrator of workplace sexual harassment engages in intentional acts such as kissing, hugging, or touching the buttocks, chest, or other intimate parts of another person when that person cannot quickly respond or resist, the provisions of Article 25 of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act shall also apply concurrently.

5. The Chamber should implement appropriate measures to prevent and address instances of sexual harassment. It should establish a dedicated hotline (02-27186433), a dedicated mailbox, or an email address ([email protected]) to encourage reporting and feedback. In cases of sexual harassment or suspected incidents, immediate review, improvement of preventive measures, acceptance of complaints, and assistance in filing complaints should be provided.

6. Each division within the Chamber should effectively utilize various communication channels such as meetings and printed materials to enhance awareness among employees about sexual harassment prevention measures and reporting channels. Encouragement should be given for employees to participate in relevant education and training on sexual harassment prevention.

7. The handling of sexual harassment complaints within the Chamber may involve the formation of a Complaint Handling Committee (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) to make decisions regarding the handling of complaints.

The Committee shall consist of three to five members, with the HR manager serving as an ex officio member. The remaining members shall be designated by the management personnel for each individual complaint case. These members can be current employees of the Chamber or selected experts. The proportion of female members in the Committee should be more than half.

The Committee may designate one member, appointed by the management personnel, as the Chairperson and presiding officer of the meetings. In the Chairperson’s absence, another member may be designated to act as a proxy.

If the alleged perpetrator of an incident, as mentioned in Article 4, is the highest-ranking executive of the Chamber, the victim has the right to file a complaint directly with the competent authority of the municipality or county (city).

8. Complaints regarding sexual harassment should be submitted in writing. There is no time limit for victims or their legal representatives to file complaints under Article 4, Paragraph 1. However, complaints under Article 4, Paragraph 2 should be submitted to the HR department of the Chamber within one year of the date of the incident. If necessary, complaints can also be made orally, by telephone, fax, email, or other means, but written confirmation should be provided.

The complaint letter should include the following information:

  1. Name, gender, date of birth, national identification number or passport number, employing organization, job title, residential address, contact telephone number, and date of the complaint.
  2. If there is a legal representative, their name, gender, date of birth, national identification number or passport number, occupation, residential or domicile address, and contact telephone number.
  3. Date, content, and relevant evidence or witnesses regarding the incident being complained about.
  4. Requested actions or remedies.
  5. If there is a representative, an authorization letter should be attached, stating their name, residential address, and contact telephone number.

9. The complainant may withdraw their complaint in writing before a decision is made by the Committee. Once withdrawn, the complainant shall not file a complaint regarding the same matter again. If the withdrawal is submitted by a representative appointed by the complainant, the appointed representative must possess special power of attorney.

10. The handling of sexual harassment complaints by the Chamber shall be conducted in a confidential manner.

11. The deliberation process of the Committee is as follows:

  1. In accepted complaint cases, when forming the Committee, the proportion of women in the Committee should not be less than half. The investigation process should protect the privacy rights and other personal interests of the parties involved. Upon the completion of investigation, an investigation report should be prepared.
  2. During the investigation process, the involved parties should be notified in advance so that they can provide explanations. If necessary, relevant individuals or experts/scholars related to the case may be invited to attend and provide explanations.
  3. The Committee shall make a decision on whether the complaint case is substantiated or unsubstantiated. In cases where the complaint is substantiated, recommendations for appropriate disciplinary actions and other measures shall be proposed. In cases where the complaint is unsubstantiated, the deliberation circumstances should still be considered, and recommendations for necessary measures should be made.
  4. The decision on the complaint should state the reasons for said decision and be communicated to the involved parties in writing. The appropriate units should be notified to take appropriate actions according to the relevant regulations. In the case of accepting complaints regarding sexual harassment under Article 4, Paragraph 2, both parties involved and the government supervisory authority under the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act should be notified in writing.
  5. Complaint cases related to sexual harassment under Article 4, Paragraph 1 should be concluded within two months of the date of filing, with a possible one-month extension if necessary, and the parties involved should be notified of the decision. Investigations of complaint cases related to sexual harassment under Article 4, Paragraph 2, should commence within seven days from the date of the complaint and a decision should be made within two months, with a possible one-month extension if necessary. The parties involved should be notified of the decision.

12. The following circumstances shall result in the rejection of a complaint:

  1. Complaints submitted orally, by phone, fax, email, or other means, where the complainant fails to provide written clarification within 14 days of being notified to do so.
  2. Complaints filed beyond the prescribed time limit under Article 4, Paragraph 2.
  3. Complaints filed by someone who is not the direct victim of sexual harassment or their legal representative in relation to a sexual harassment incident.
  4. Complaints refiled on a matter that has already been resolved by a previous complaint decision or has been withdrawn.
  5. Complaints filed regarding incidents that do not fall within the scope of sexual harassment.
  6. Complaints lacking specific factual details or not providing the true name, employing unit, and residential address of the involved parties.

13. The personnel involved in the handling, investigation, and evaluation of sexual harassment complaints shall keep the details of the complaint confidential. Violators shall be immediately removed from their involvement by the Chairperson of the Committee, and depending on the severity of the violation, the matter may be reported to the Chamber for disciplinary action and termination of employment or appointment.

14. The personnel involved in the handling, investigation, and evaluation of sexual harassment complaints shall voluntarily recuse themselves in the following circumstances during the investigation process:

  1. When they themselves, their spouse, former spouse, third-degree relatives by marriage, or individuals with whom they have had such relationships are directly involved in the incident.
  2. When they themselves, their spouse, or former spouse have a common legal interest or obligation with the parties involved in the incident.
  3. When they currently or previously acted as legal a representative or assistant for any of the parties involved in the incident.
  4. When they are currently or have previously served as a witness or expert witness in the case.

Personnel mentioned above should recuse themselves. If they fail to do so or if there are other specific circumstances that raise concerns about their impartiality, the complainant may submit a written request to the committee, citing the reasons and providing supporting facts for their recusal.

15. In cases where sexual harassment complaints falling under Article 4, Paragraph 1, Clause 1 have entered judicial proceedings, or have been referred to the Control Yuan for investigation or the Civil Service Disciplinary Committee for review, the handling committee may decide to temporarily suspend the investigation and evaluation.

16. After the Committee has made a final decision regarding a sexual harassment complaint falling under Article 4, Paragraph 1, Clause 1, the party involved may apply for a reevaluation to the Committee if any of the following circumstances apply:

  1. The decision is inconsistent with the stated reasons.
  2. The organization of the Committee is unlawful.
  3. Committee members who were required to recuse themselves participated in the decision-making.
  4. Committee members who participated in the decision have violated their duties and been criminally convicted.
  5. Witnesses or experts provided false testimony or appraisal that formed the basis of the decision.
  6. The evidence on which the decision was based was forged or tampered with.
  7. The civil, criminal, or administrative judgment or administrative sanction that formed the basis of the decision has been subsequently altered.
  8. Previously disregarded evidence is discovered or allowed to be used.
  9. Important evidence that could have influenced the decision was negligently omitted.

The application for reevaluation should be submitted in writing within 20 days of delivery of the decision to the party involved. The application should be submitted together with a copy of the original decision. However, if the grounds for reevaluation occurred or were discovered later, the 20-day period starts from the date of discovery. The application for reevaluation should provide a written explanation of the reasons and be submitted to the original committee that made the decision.

If the Committee finds no grounds for reevaluation, the original decision shall be maintained. If there are valid grounds, the original decision shall be revised, and the parties involved and relevant parties shall be notified.

Unless otherwise specified in these regulations, the provisions of the complaint procedure shall apply to the reevaluation process.

17. In cases of sexual harassment under Article 4, Paragraph 2, if a party is dissatisfied with the investigation results, they may submit a further complaint to the competent authority of a municipality or county (city) within thirty days from the expiration of the deadline or the day following the receipt of the investigation results notification.

18. Superiors at all levels in the Chamber shall not terminate employment, transfer, or take other adverse actions against employees who file complaints or assist others in filing complaints. If it is found to be true, necessary disciplinary action shall be taken depending on the severity of the circumstances.

19. If it is determined through investigation that an employee in the Chamber has engaged in sexual harassment, appropriate disciplinary measures shall be taken based on the severity of the case. Recommendations for disciplinary actions such as counseling, verbal warnings, written warnings, transfer, demotion, or dismissal shall be made. In the case of false accusations being proven, appropriate disciplinary recommendations shall also be made against the complainant. When a case involves criminal liability, it may be referred to judicial authorities for handling.

20. The Chamber shall conduct follow-up and supervision of sexual harassment complaint cases to ensure the effective implementation of complaint decisions and to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents or retaliatory acts. Regarding sexual harassment incidents under Article 4, Paragraph 2, if confirmed through the Chamber’s investigation, the case shall be referred to the competent authority of a municipality or county (city) for handling in accordance with Article 20 and Article 21 of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act.

21. If the Committee concludes that a party requires counseling, medical treatment, or other assistance, they may provide assistance in referring them to professional counseling or medical institutions.

22. The members of the Committee shall serve on a voluntary basis without remuneration. However, they may receive a writing fee for preparing investigation reports, and non-Chamber part-time committee members attending meetings may receive an attendance fee.

23. The necessary expenses of the Committee shall be provided from the relevant budget items of the Chamber.

24. This policy shall come into effect upon the date of publication.