Sexual harassment committed by civil servants will from now on be classed as a standalone offence and investigated differently to other disciplinary offences, under a law parliament passed on Thursday.

The bill had come about following an initiative of the ombudsman.

It amends the general legislation governing civil servants, so that sexual harassment or gender-based harassment are now classed separately than other disciplinary offences.

In addition, such offences will be investigated in a different way than other disciplinary offences committed by civil servants.

Previously, sexual harassment was merely included descriptively in the text of the law as one of the offences by civil servants involving ‘dishonesty or moral turpitude’.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou welcomed the change, saying it gives “added visibility” to matters concerning sexual harassment.