Traliant Resources


Puerto Rico
Equal Employment Opportunity


Please review the information below and then return to the workplace harassment prevention course tab. 

Harassment and discrimination based on a protected characteristic are prohibited under both federal and state law.  The federal government and most state governments have agencies that help employers and employees understand these legal requirements and ensure compliance with the laws.

Protected Characteristics

Harassment or discrimination based on any characteristic set forth below is prohibited in Puerto Rico.


  • race 

  • color

  • national origin

  • sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity)

  • gender expression

  • disability

  • genetic information (including family medical history)

  • religion

  • age (40 and older)

Puerto Rico

  • race

  • color

  • national origin

  • social origin or status/condition

  • sex (including pregnancy and related conditions)

  • gender identity

  • sexual orientation

  • age (minimum working age+)

  • disability

  • political affiliation or belief

  • religious beliefs

  • uniformed servicemember or veteran status

  • status or perceived status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual aggression, or stalking

Important Notes

In addition to the general protected characteristics listed above, some federal, state, and/or local laws also prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of other protected statuses in certain contexts, such as:

  • citizenship status or work authorization status,

  • emergency volunteer status,

  • family relationship with a co-worker, and/or

  • status based on information contained in criminal, background, or credit reports, or being subject to wage garnishments.


Likewise, some federal, state, and/or local laws prohibit discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation for exercising certain legal rights such as:

  • participating in collective bargaining or union activities,

  • serving as a whistleblower pursuant to whistleblower laws,

  • filing a worker’s compensation or unemployment claim,

  • taking protected time off or protected leave,

  • engaging in certain off-duty activities.

Finally, under federal law and some state and/or local laws, employers may not limit or prohibit employees from using any language in the workplace unless there is a business necessity for the restriction.

Note also that some federal, state, and/or local laws provide additional, separate standards and remedies for certain prohibited conduct, such as laws addressing equal pay without regard to sex or other protected category or specifically addressing sexual harassment prevention measures.

Applicable Laws


The primary federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination include Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment ActThe Americans With Disabilities ActThe Equal Pay ActThe Uniformed Services and Employment and Reemployment ActThe Immigration and Nationality Act, and The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court held that Title VII protects individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (U.S. June 15, 2020).

Puerto Rico

The primary local law that prohibits employment discrimination and harassment in Puerto Rico is P.R. Laws tit. 29, § 146 et seq.  Sexual harassment is expressly prohibited by P.R. Laws tit. 29, § 155. The 2020 Act to Prohibit and Prevent Workplace Harassment in Puerto Rico prohibits bullying and harassment regardless of characteristics.

Puerto Rico’s Harassment and Bullying Prevention Laws

Puerto Rico law prohibits both sexual harassment and bullying and harassment of any employee for any reason.

Puerto Rico Definition of Sexual Harassment

Puerto Rico’s sexual harassment prevention law defines sexual harassment in employment as (1) any type of undesired sexual approach, (2) demand for sexual favors, or (3) any other verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature or that is reproduced by using any means of communication including, but not limited to, the use of multimedia tools through the cybernetic network or through any electronic means, when any one or more of the following circumstances occur:

  • When submission to the conduct becomes, implicitly or explicitly, a term or condition of a person’s employment.

  • When submission to or rejection of the conduct by the person becomes the grounds for making employment decisions or regarding the job that affects that person.

  • When the conduct has the effect or purpose of unreasonably interfering with the performance of  the person’s work, or when it creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Definition of Bullying and Harassment

Under Puerto Rico law, unlawful bullying and harassment generally means repeated abusive or unwanted conduct unrelated to the company’s legitimate business interests (“mobbing”) undertaken by one employee against another.

Examples of repeated conduct that can result in unlawful workplace bullying and harassment include the following:

  • Making hurtful, defamatory, or damaging statements filled with profanity about an employee.

  • Making hostile and humiliating remarks about an employee’s professional qualifications in the presence of co-workers.

  • Rejecting an employee’s proposals or opinions in a humiliating manner.

  • Making unjustified threats to terminate an employee in the presence of co-workers.

  • Subjecting an employee to multiple, unjustified complaints.

  • Publicly joking or making negative comments about an employee’s appearance or manner of dress.

  • Publicly discussing or referring to private or confidential information about an employee or their family.

  • Imposing duties obviously outside the employee’s job duties or making patently unreasonable demands on an employee.

  • Abruptly changing the location of work or nature of work without an objective basis.

  • Refusing to provide information needed by the employee to perform their job duties.

However, the following types of conduct do not constitute unlawful harassment:

  • Establishing policies regarding business operations, procedures, and employee performance evaluations.

  • Actions, including disciplinary actions, taken to implement and enforce employer policies and employment contracts.

  • Supervisor’s actions to enforce legal disciplinary with respect to a subordinate.

  • Requiring employees to perform additional work necessary for continuation of services or to address a challenge related business operations or services.

  • Any affirmative action taken to enforce legal obligations or prohibitions.

Retaliation Prohibited

Employer retaliation against an employee who files a discrimination or harassment complaint or is involved in the complaint process is unlawful.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only.
It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.