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Tribunal de Contas da União

TCU audits cases of moral and sexual harassment in federal agencies

The Federal Court of Accounts, as reported by Minister Walton Alencar Rodrigues, found that moral and sexual harassment causes several impacts, such as an work absence due to sick leave
Por Secom TCU

The Federal Court of Accounts (TCU), with Minister Walton Alencar Rodrigues as rapporteur, carried out an unprecedented survey on moral and sexual harassment within agencies and entities of the federal public administration. 

“The absolute need for attention to the matter stems from its sensitivity and the many taboos that still surround it, as a result of its impacts, such as increase of work absence due to sick leave; increase in the number of complaints being forwarded to the Judicial Power; payment of compensations; damage to the agency's image; increased feeling of injustice among employees; recurrence of harassment, among others”, pointed out the rapporteur minister.

Minister Walton Alencar Rodrigues called attention to some numbers found by the Office of the Comptroller General (CGU). In 49 disciplinary cases regarding sexual harassment, about two out of five (38.78%) resulted in the application of some type of disciplinary penalty. "And, astonishingly, in 100% of the cases analyzed the harasser was male. Among the victims of sexual harassment, there was a predominance of females (96.5%)”.

In Brazil, a study conducted by Linkedin and the Think Eva Consultancy concluded that 41.12% of the women participating in the survey affirmed that they had already experienced sexual harassment at work (

Moral harassment

Regarding moral harassment, 270 disciplinary cases filed from 2014 to 2018 were selected. Among them, only 54 (20%) resulted in the application of some type of disciplinary sanction, while 164 occurrences (60.74%) were dismissed.

"It is no coincidence that sexual harassment cases have been punished more frequently and more severely than those of moral harassment. Moral harassment is not expressly provided for as a disciplinary offense in Act 8.112/90, nor in the Consolidation of Brazilian Labor Laws (CLT), which has resulted in at least 18 different legal frameworks”, pondered Minister Walton Alencar Rodrigues.

Next steps

TCU’s future external control plan shall include an audit to be carried out in certain federal agencies and entities to verify the maturity level of organizations regarding the practices to prevent and combat moral and sexual harassment.

In addition, the TCU intends to widely disseminate the Model to assess the system to combat harassment. By making use of this model, it will be possible to carry out an audit to achieve a  general evaluation of the Federal Public Administration, and, as a result, assess the performance of the system for preventing and combating sexual and moral harassment.
The Court of Accounts will also verify the possibility of including, in all its ongoing audits, an assessment of the agency's mechanisms, in the sense of combating harassment in its various forms.

To prepare this audit work, TCU auditors visited Brazilian public administration agencies that had already adopted actions to prevent and combat harassment. The results of audits carried out in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe were also used as a source of research.




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