Panama’s first anti-discrimination law (Law 7 of 14 February 2018, the ‘Law’) entered into force on 15 February 2018. The main objective of the Law is to prevent and penalise discriminatory acts. It is based on international treaties and conventions relating to human rights that the Republic of Panama has entered into. In order to achieve its objectives, the Law is very comprehensive and is intended to promote equal, decent and respectful treatment among the citizens of Panama.
The key aims of the Law are:
The implementation of the Law means that every employer, public and private institution and educational establishment, is now responsible for developing internal policies to prevent, avoid, discourage and penalise discriminatory acts such as sexual or other harassment, bullying in the workplace, racism and sexism.
Organisations must also implement internal procedures for individuals to bring harassment claims and for the resolution of such claims. Pursuant to the Law, these proceedings must be adequate and effective to allow for swift resolution of claims, whilst also ensuring confidentiality and giving appropriate protection to the plaintiff and witnesses.
Finally, the Law establishes stringent fines, criminal penalties and civil liability for infringers.