On 6 July 2023, the International Labor Organization's Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment entered into full force and effect in Mexico. This international instrument was ratified by the Senate on 6 July 2022. Ratification triggered the start of an initial one year period for national legislation to be brought into line with Convention standards.
ILO Convention 190 recognizes the right of every person to a job free of violence and harassment, especially based on gender, since this kind of harassment is a violation of human rights that threatens equal opportunities, and is incompatible with the right to decent work.
The Convention on Violence and Harassment has been ratified by 31 countries. Between now and mid-2024, it will enter into force in a further 12 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland and Nigeria.
The signatories to this Convention are obliged to promote an environment where there is a zero-tolerance approach to violence and harassment, which applies to all workplace actors in both the public and the private sectors.
Under the Convention, the Mexican State must:
- Adopt legislation that defines and prohibits workplace violence and harassment
- Put protective measures in place for victims of workplace violence and/or harassment
- Require employers to take appropriate measures commensurate with their degree of control to prevent workplace violence and harassment, including training employees about the dangers and risks involved
- Consider psychosocial risks associated with workplace violence and harassment, considering occupational safety and health parameters
- Follow up and monitor the implementation of national legislation on the subject
- Ensure easy access to appropriate reporting channels and redress for victims of workplace violence and harassment
- Provide sanctions in cases of workplace violence and harassment
- Ensure that every employee has the right to leave a work situation without retaliation or other undue consequences if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the situation presents a serious and imminent danger to their life, health or safety as a result of violence and harassment
The importance of the Convention for work life lies in the obligations it places on both the state and employers, specifically regarding the eradication of gender-based violence and the prevention of cases of violence and harassment at work.
In addition, this Convention is now included in the list of legal instruments that continue to reinforce the principles pursued by the 2019 labour reform in Mexico, which aimed to promote social justice, respect for human dignity, the protection of the physical and psychological integrity of employees and improve the work environment. We will surely see reforms regarding workplace violence and harassment in the coming months.
For the time being, Mexico already has some legal measures in place. These include the Official Mexican Standard on Psychosocial Risk Factors at Work,and theGeneral Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence, which provide a framework for the prevention and treatment of these cases that aims to ensure safe working conditions and create work environments free of violence.
This article was prepared with the assistance of Gabriela Guadarrama García.
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.