A woman who claims legislator Federico Tinoco, her former employer, sexually harassed her last year has now filed charges against him in a San José labor court.
Her lawyer, Pablo Zúñiga, told the daily La Nación he and his client hope Tinoco, a National Liberation Party (PLN) lawmaker, will renounce his legislative immunity so he can face the charges.
The married mother of two – whose name The Tico Times and other media have chosen to withhold to protect her privacy – alleges that Tinoco made repeated flirtatious and threatening comments to her, kissed her on the lips, and fired her when she refused to respond to his advances (TT, Sept. 8, 2006).When she presented a complaint to Legislative Assembly leaders last year, they formed an external commission to examine the case and interview the parties involved. However, the commission later ruled there was not enough evidence to proceed.
President Oscar Arias and other leaders urged Tinoco to renounce his immunity at the time, but he did not follow their advice, though he did take some unpaid leave.
It was not yet clear at press time what would take place if Tinoco does not renounce his immunity now. Last year, Assembly Executive Director Antonio Ayales told The Tico Times that a multiple-step process including a ruling by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala III) and a vote by the assembly is necessary to strip a legislator of his or immunity if the legislator faces criminal charges.