Swiss law provides for a variety of legal remedies.
Employees who have been sexually harassed may suspend their work, and employers must continue to pay their salary during the suspension period.
Victims of sexual harassment may also lawfully terminate their contract of employment with immediate effect. In such cases, employees are entitled to damages equivalent to the amount they would have earned had the employment relationship ended after the ordinary notice period (usually 3 months).
Besides suspension and immediate termination of employment, victims of sexual harassment may bring an action against employers before the competent conciliation board, a court or the administrative body. To this effect, they may apply for an order prohibiting or stopping threatened sexual harassment, requiring sexual harassment to cease and confirming that sexual harassment is taking place if it is continuing to have a disruptive effect. On top of that, they may apply for compensation if the employer did not take sufficient measures to prevent sexual harassment. Such compensation may amount to up to six times the average Swiss monthly salary. In addition, victims may claim damages and satisfaction.
Employees may challenge a dismissal as a result of making a complaint of sexual harassment to their manager, or because of their initiation of legal proceedings. Remedies includes interim relief or compensation of up to six months’ salary within 180 days after termination of employment. Civil claims can also be brought against the harasser, and they may ask the court for injunctive relief as well as claim damages and satisfaction. The employee may also bring a criminal charge against the harasser.
In case of gender-based violence or sexual harassment, the injured person has the right to file a complaint with the state/ local authorities, the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for Human Rights (Ombudsman at the Ukrainian Parliament), the court and / or with the police.
The employee can also claim in court "moral damages" suffered due to their employer’s unlawful actions. In order to claim such moral damages, however, an employee will need to prove moral suffering (e.g., by submitting a medical certificate issued based on a medical examination of the employee and reflecting the employee’s stress or other emotional disorders) and to substantiate the causal link between the damage caused to the employee and the employer's actions, which is not straightforward. The amount of the moral damages should be substantiated by the employee, but the final determination is made by court. In practice, courts usually award rather insignificant amounts of moral damages.
Depending on the nature and consequences of the harassment, the victim can also report a crime to the police. In particular, Article 154 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine provides criminal liability where individuals are forced to enter into sexual intercourse, including forcing individuals who are in a relationship of administrative or financial subordination. The moral compulsion by the offender can be treated as a criminal offence under the mentioned Article 154 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
This crime is punished with the fine of up to 850 UAH (approx. EUR 30) or with the arrest for up to 6 months. If this crime is supported by the aggravating circumstances, e.g., threats of destruction, damage or seizure of the victim’s property, disclosure of information that disgraces the victim or the victim’s relatives, it is punished with the arrest up to 6 months or the imprisonment for up to 3 years.
Furthermore, Article 153 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine stipulates that committing any sexual violence (not connected with the rape) without the voluntary consent of the victim is punished by imprisonment for up to 5 years.