Turkey: What Is Mobbing In The Turkish Legal System?

Last Updated: 26 May 2017
Article by Ayşe Melike Alpay

"Mobbing" is a new concept recognized by the Turkish legal system.  Literally, mobbing means bullying of an individual by a group in any context, such as a family, friends, peers, school, workplace, neighborhood, community, or online.  When it occurs in the workplace it falls within the scope of the relevant labor legislation. Mobbing as a legal concept is defined by the Turkish Court of Appeals as "a psychological terror appearing as directing someone a hostile and immoral  communication  directed systematically from one or more persons to another".

Is it a discrimination or violation of human dignity?

The term "mobbing" is interpreted differenly in various legal systems. The main distinction of interpretation is between the common law and civil law.  In common law systems, the judicial decisions about mobbing are based on "discrimination" and "violation of equality".  In civil law systems, mobbing is interpreted as "violation of human dignity" rather than violation of equality. The common law system dignifies the "equality" between the employer and employee or between all employees.  It is actually understandable when we take a look at the American history and the prior discrimination cases between the US citizens.

Mobbing is not the same as "bullying"!

Another important point is to differentiate "mobbing" from " bullying". They have some common aspects of course, but "bullying"  defines physical assault more than psychlogical harassment. Mobbing is more about the psychological terror, which is repeatedly committed by the employers or other employees. In the Turkish system, mobbing is translated as psychological harassment (psikolojik taciz) or moral and emotional harassment.

How can we recognize a "mobbing" act?

The common trait of a mobbing act is that it does not appear out of nowhere; but it is the result of a long standing and systematic act. It is very important not to define every nervous behaviour, fight or discussion as mobbing. Mobbing requires more systematic actions rather than one wrongdoing or misbehaviour. In other words, the victim of mobbing must be harassed systematically.

The most important and significant elements of mobbing are determined by  the court decisions and doctrine as follows:

1)      Knowingly and intentionally engaging in mobbing,

2)      Repeating the behaviour systematically,

3)      Continuing same behaviour for a certain period of time  (i.e at least for  6 months), and

4)      Intending to distracting the employee from his work, i.e by frustrating him.

Another research  attributes mobbing to the 3 parameters stated below:

1)  Being exposed to negative behaviour systematically (like once in a week),

2)  Being exposed to negative behaviour for a certain period of time (at least 6 months) and

3)  Power inequality between  the harasser and the victim.

How does Turkish legislation define "mobbing" ?

In the Offical Gazette dated 19.03.2011 and numbered 27879,  the Prime Ministry issued a circular "Prohibiting the Psychological Harassment (Mobbing) in the Workplaces". This circular defines mobbing as "...psychological harassment appears like humiliating, underrating, externalizing, injuring the honour and personality, maltreating, frustrating an employee  systematically on purpose for a significant period ...".

How do Turkish Courts interpret "mobbing"?

  • The decision of Ankara 8th Labor Court dated 2006 is the first decision of Turkish Courts about mobbing. In this case, the employee was psychologically harrassed by his superior after the change of management at the workplace. The employee was exposed to nervous behaviour, oral and written pressure and unjust reprimand by his superior. The same superior requested five defense statements within 1,5 years from the employee due to his acts. The court of first instance decided that the employee was exposed to psychological harassment/mobbing and the employer was sentenced to pay 1,000 TRY for damages for pain and suffering. This decision was approved by the 9th Chamber of  Court of Appeals. This decision established the precedent in Turkish Law on mobbing and in the decision mobbing was defined as "every kind of systematic maltreatment, threat, violence, humiliation to an employee by his employers, seniors, colleagues or juniors".
  • In a decision of the Court of Appeals  Assembly of Civil Chambers numbered 2012/9-1925 E., 2013/1407 K. and dated 25.09.2013, changing the workplace of a married, 56 years old lady lawyer for 30 times in a 9 month period after having worked for 14 years in the same workplace, was interpreted as "mobbing" and the court defined  mobbing:

"...as it is seen, for accepting a behaviour as psychological harassment, one employee must be targeted, the behaviour must be continuing and this situation must be systematic...".

  • 9th Chamber of the Court of Appeals underlined the continuation factor of the actions in its decision numbered  2008/37500 E. , 2010/31544 K. and dated 04.11.2010:

" ... the claimant is in psychological depression because the effects and consequences of the harassment are continuing and despite there is no negative evaluation about his performance, the performance grade was lowered after these actions...".

In the Turkish doctrine, it is generally stated that the duration of mobbing acts must continue between 3 months to 3 years.[1] In the comperative law, a minimum of a 6 months period of the acts are required for defining a case as "mobbing". However, determining a concrete period is not possible and every mobbing case must be evaluated individually. The effects on the victim and the duration are determinant.

Mobbing cases find their spot on the news in the Turkish media. Lately a male associate professor in Istanbul Yıldız Technical University, brought a suit against six of his female colleagues with the claim of mobbing. He claims that he has been exposed to "psychological harassment, defamation and attrition for years" and that there is "woman staffing" in the workplace, so that the male teaching assistants are exposed to get distracted. Although there are many allegations of mobbing and cases filed in Turkish courts, in order for a mobbing case to be accepted the preconditions explained above must be present.

Conclusion

Mobbing is still relatively a new concept to the Turkish courts, but the courts seem to be on a correct track to establish certain pre-conditions and principles with regard to mobbing cases. However, it is worth to note that the courts generally scrutinize the mobbing claims very carefully.  When it comes to compensation they tend to award compensation only in specific cases and limit the compensation at rather nominal amounts.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions