In December 2018 the Bahrain Labour Law was amended making it unlawful for an employer or a worker to abuse or sexually harass a worker in the workplace by any means whatsoever, whether verbally or physically. The penalty for abusing or harassing a fellow worker is imprisonment for up to one year, or the payment of a fine of up to BHD 100. If the employer or its representative commits the harassment, the penalty is imprisonment for at least six months or payment of a fine of between BHD 500 and BHD 1,000.
The amendment stops short of imposing obligations on employers to take positive steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. However, it is recommended that employers should have an anti-harassment policy in place and a robust complaints redress mechanism to avoid any suggestion that they endorsed or were even complicit in the harassment. Employers that have an existing policy framework and complaints mechanism should review this to ensure that it is sufficiently broad to cover the species of harassment conduct that could fall within the scope of the amendment.