The Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) has forwarded the alleged sexual harassment case to the police on 1 October. After a board meeting on Thursday, the management uncovered significant prima facie evidence against one of its directors who had been accused of sexual harassment.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BPC, Sonam Tobjey, said that because of the sensitivity of the issue, the investigation committee was requested to accelerate the process when it was formed.
“The report was submitted to me on 29 September, and on 30 September, we had an emergency board meeting, during which it was determined that there was prima facie evidence of sexual harassment, based on the committee’s findings. And if it’s sexual harassment, it’s against the law. And, because it is a criminal case, BPC is not the appropriate agency to handle it. The board has decided that it must be submitted to the country’s legitimate authorities, which is the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP),” he said.
He said that the board has formally informed the accused and the defendant of their decision, and the matter was forwarded to RBP yesterday.
The CEO said that their mandate is to maintain employee safety in the workplace, whether it is from sexual harassment or other workplace grievances, and that if such incidents are reported to management, they will handle them according to service standards, and provide fair justice and judgment.
On 15 September, a female BPC employee filed a complaint with management against one of the directors for behaving improperly and harassing her.
The complainant claimed that while on night duty on 15 September, she was sexually harassed by the director. She was grabbed from behind by the director, who had arrived inebriated, and he even followed her to the bathroom, where he remained for over an hour, banging on the door.
On 24 September, the BPC management suspended the director for allegedly sexually harassing a female staff. Despite the fact that the event occurred early on 15 September, the official complaint was filed with management on 21 September.
The Director is suspended until the case is resolved, and if he is found guilty of sexual harassment as claimed by the victim, he will then be dealt as per the BPC Service Rules and Regulations July 2016.
As per section 205 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004, a defendant shall be guilty of sexual harassment, if the defendant makes unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal abuse of sexual nature and the offence of sexual harassment shall be a petty misdemeanor as per section 206 of the same Act.