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Tribunal de Contas da União

Sexual harassment audits – control action proposal in Brazil

Prevention and combat of sexual harassment in the workplace, although incipient, is an important theme brought to the attention of the Brazilian Court of Accounts and the public management, in the plenary session of October 28th, 2020
Por Secom TCU

The minister wanted to alert public managers and the society of the need to create an efficient and effective system to prevent and combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Not only because it harms the individual, but also jeopardizes the institutions where it happens.

In Brazil, the situation is alarming. According to an article published in "Valor Investe" magazine, one in every two women has experienced sexual harassment at the workplace. The article mentions the decrease in productivity and reveals that most victims do not report the incident due to impunity, lack of efficient policies, and fear.

In other countries, audits with objective have already been carried out:

  1. The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the American Supreme Audit Institution, has recently published reports on “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” within the Federal Public Administration.
  2. The Office of the Auditor General of Canada  audited Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2018.
  3. The Australian supreme audit office, the Victorian Auditor-General's Office (VAGO), conducted an audit about Sexual Harassment in the Victorian Public Service in 2019
  4. European parliaments have conducted studies and debates about sexual harassment in the workplace. In the United Kingdom, for example, the parliament demanded a recent (2019) consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace, which aimed to gather evidence about whether current laws on protecting people from sexual harassment in the workplace were effective
  5. The European Union parliament asked for studies and published articles on the subject, such as " Bullying and sexual harassment at the workplace, in public spaces, and in political life in the EU (2018) and "Sexual harassment of women in the EU” (2018)

These evidences that clearly show not only the relevance of the theme, but also how a supreme audit institution can act to contribute to its prevention and combat. Without a doubt, it is a significant issue, not only for the individual, but also for society. In case other audits on this theme have been or are being carried out somewhere else, please let us know (

            Minister Bruno Dantas expressed his concern and recommended that the Brazilian Court of Accounts take action in this regard. He suggested to the Court an operational audit in Federal Public Administration institutions to evaluate how the system performs with regards to preventing and combating sexual harassment in the workplace.






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