A reward for sexual harassment?

A reward for sexual harassment?
November 21 20:03 2015

A court ruling ordering MVR421,733 (US$27,000) in compensation for a top government official, removed by the parliament for sexual harassment, has caused outrage online.

The civil court on Thursday ordered the state to pay salaries and benefits for former chair of the Civil Service Commission Mohamed Fahmy Hassan for the two years and six months he was left unemployed.

Many Maldivians described the compensation as a reward for sexual harassment.

“Sexual harassment at the work place pays well, especially if you are the boss,” commented Munshid Mohamed on Facebook. Another said: “So the government is now subsidizing sexual harassment?”

A majority of respondents to an online poll by private Raajje TV station said the decision was unjust.

Fahmy, who was recently appointed as the High Commissioner to Malaysia, was removed in November 2012, after a parliamentary committee found he had harassed a female member of his staff. But the Supreme Court in March 2013 annulled the parliament’s decision, arguing that Fahmy could not be removed unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The parliament refused to recognize the reinstatement, and proceeded to appoint a new chair for the CSC and a new member for the vacancy. Fahmy, however, continued to turn up to work until the CSC cancelled his fingerprint access to the office.

Yameen appointed Fahmy as the deputy high commissioner to Malaysia in 2013 and promoted him to the post of high commissioner this year.

Other criticism of the compensation order noted the People’s Majlis had removed several top state officials in rushed votes without due process and without being convicted of a crime, including the vice president, prosecutor general and auditor general, and questioned if the Supreme Court would intervene to reinstate them to their jobs.

The move caused controversy as it comes a week after President Abdulla Yameen honored the CEO of Sun Media Group Sinan Ali on Republic Day for his services to journalism, despite pending charges of sexually harassing new recruits.  

In 2013, the parliament passed a law to address sexual harassment in the workplace. The law mandates offices to form select committees to investigate complaints and take action against offenders.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Fahmy’s case formed the precedents for the civil court ordering the reinstatement of several security forces officers to their jobs.

A civil court judge ordered the reinstatement of former police intelligence chief Mohamed ‘MC’ Hameed, who was dismissed in 2012 on a charge of leaking sensitive information, based on the precedent set in Fahmy’s case.

The state has since appealed the judgment.