28 April 2024

Ratification Of The Convention On Work Violence And Harassment

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A Romanian law acceding to the International Labour Organization's Violence and Harassment Convention was published on 2 April 2024.
Romania Employment and HR
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A Romanian law acceding to the International Labour Organization's Violence and Harassment Convention was published on 2 April 2024

The Convention, which was adopted by the ILO in 2019, protects workers and other persons from violence and harassment in the workplace.

The term 'violence and harassment' is defined as a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices, or threats thereof (whether a single occurrence or repeated) that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual, or economic harm.

The term specifically includes 'gender-based violence and harassment', which refers to violence and harassment directed at persons because of their sex or gender or affecting persons of a particular sex or gender disproportionately. This includes sexual harassment.

A new aspect brought by the Convention is the broadening of the scope of what actions constitute violence and harassment in the workplace. Thus, the Convention applies to violence and harassment occurring in the course of, linked with or arising out of work:

  • in the workplace, including public and private spaces where work takes place;
  • in places where the worker is paid, takes a rest break or a meal, or uses sanitary, washing and changing facilities;
  • during work-related trips, travel, training, events, or social activities (e.g. teambuilding);
  • through work-related communications, including those enabled by information and communication technologies (e.g. chat channels);
  • in employer-provided accommodation; and
  • when commuting to and from work.

Many of the issues and rules set out in the Convention are already reflected in Romanian legislation. However, the implementation of this legislative framework is problematic and is affected by numerous shortcomings. The Convention, establishing regulatory obligations for states, aims at improving the current legal framework regarding aspects such as:

  • monitoring and enforcement of national regulations concerning violence and harassment in the workplace;
  • occupational safety and health;
  • the inspection and investigation of cases of violence and harassment;
  • gender issues and discrimination;
  • public health (i.e. monitoring the provision of medical care and psychological counseling);
  • mechanisms for resolving conflicts within and outside the workplace; and
  • social protection of victims.

The provisions of the Convention are to be enforced through the enactment of national legislation and regulatory frameworks. This may entail the expansion or modification of existing regulations governing occupational safety and health to encompass issues pertaining to violence and harassment.

Takeaway for Employers

Employers should update their harassment policies in accordance with the requirements of the Convention, particularly with regard to the scope of what constitutes harassment.

Note also that at the end of last year, the government gave its approval for a methodology on the prevention and combating of gender-based and moral harassment at the workplace. The Methodology includes a Guide on preventing and combating workplace harassment which must be implemented by all employers, adapting the model to their specific working conditions, by 17 April 2024. Sanctions for failure to comply with existing regulatory obligations in this area can reach up to RON 50,000.

Originally published by Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen (NNDKP)

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.

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