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Court Fines TV Anchor for Sexual Harassment of His Employee

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, January 5
(TBILISI)--Tbilisi City Court has imposed a GEL 2,000 fine on a journalist, producer and TV host Shalva Ramishvili for sexual harassment of his employee, journalist and actress Tatia Samkharadze.

The information was released by a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Sapari, which is working in the field of protecting women’s rights.

Samkharadze is among the first female journalists in Georgia, who has turned to court for justice and has opted to publicly speak about the harassment and pressure at her workplace.

“Congratulations to Tatia! Well done Mari Kurtanidze (the lawyer) and Sapari!” Baia Pataraia, Head of the NGO Sapari, wrote in her Facebook post.

Samkharadze and TV anchor Ramishvili both worked for Imedi TV Company. The actress accused Ramishvili of the sexual harassment in spring 2016, saying her boss threatened to end her career if she did not respond to his sexual approaches. She said she was in possession of an audio recording where Ramishvili promised to stop harassing her. But the harassment didn’t stop, and she made a decision to quit her job and end her career as a TV journalist.

After Samkharadze spoke up about being harassed at work, several other women working for Imedi TV Company admitted they had had similar problems with Ramishvili.

Ramishvili, who at that time was the host of the talk show Politics, was fired by Imedi TV on April 5. He rejected all the charges against him.

“This case was very important for me and I am glad the court delivered such a verdict, which proves I was right,” Samkharadze told TV Company Rustavi 2, adding she hopes her case will encourage other women to raise their voices against sexual harassment or any other form of violence.

Samkharadze’s lawyer Mari Kurtanidze says this case is a clear example that the state should pass a bill criminalizing the sexual harassment, as it is not punishable in the country at present.

Ramishvili did not attend the trial held on January 3. He says the fine was not imposed on him for the sexual harassment.

“I have been fined, I confirm this, but the court did not find me guilty of the sexual harassment or discrimination,” Ramishvili said. He added he will carefully study the verdict and only after this, he will decide whether to appeal the decision or not.

At present, the Georgian legislation does not define the sexual harassment as a form of discrimination or violence. In November 2017, NGO Women’s Movement has filed a petition to Parliament, asking for making amendments to the Labor Code and the Code of Administrative Offenses to prohibit the sexual harassment at workplaces and public spaces.

“The absence of the legislation prohibiting the sexual harassment leads to abusive impunity and gender discrimination,” the petition reads.

The Committee for Protection of Human Rights of Parliament of Georgia reviewed the petition and sent it to the Gender Equality Council for further discussion. However, the discussion dates are not known yet.