Yangchen C Rinzin

The Bhutan Power Corporation’s management has decided to forward the sexual harassment case to the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) today, according to the chief executive officer (CEO) Sonam Tobjey. 

“We decided to forward the case to relevant external authority, which in this case should be RBP,” Sonam Tobjey said after the board meeting yesterday. “The board members decided to forward the case to police based on the strong prima facie evidence.”

A female staff of BPC filed a complaint to the management against one of the directors for behaving inappropriately and harassing her around 2am on September 15.

The incident occurred when the alleged victim and another female colleague were attending to their night shift duties at the company’s customer care office.

The victim formally filed a written complaint on September 21.

The CEO after receiving the case on September 22 formed the inquiry committee and expedited the inquiry within 10 working days.

The inquiry committee consisting of three senior female officers, one legal officer and the HR division submitted the inquiry report to the CEO on September 29.

The accused director was suspended on September 24 simultaneously. The director will remain suspended until the inquiry is completed and disciplinary action, according to Sonam Tobjey. 

“We’ve zero-tolerance against sexual harassment and we’ll take action against any kind of harassment reported to the management officially,” Sonam Tobjey said.

Sexual harassment is a criminal case. 

As per BPC’s service rules and regulations 2016, an employee shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment if he or she commits any kind of sexual harassment as defined by the service rules. “It will be considered a major violation of the code of conduct and dealt with accordingly, as per the major disciplinary proceedings.”

The victim, as per the service rules, must submit the complaint in writing and write to the designated person. The designated person shall acknowledge receipt of the victim’s written complaint within two working days and commence an investigation within five working days.

“If the victim is not satisfied with the outcome of the internal complaint procedure, the victim may lodge a complaint to the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources. If a person is found to be guilty of sexual harassment, they may be held legally liable if the employer knew or reasonably should have known of harassment and failed to take action,” the service rules stated.

It was learnt that the victim underwent about 10-day physiatrist counselling where she was diagnosed with extreme stress.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk