On 21 June 2019, the International Labour Organization adopted Convention 190 concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work (the ‘Convention’) and associated recommendation 206 (the ‘Recommendation’).
In its preamble, the Convention points out that:
‘violence and harassment in the world of work can constitute a human rights violation or abuse and […] is a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.’
The Convention also reminds countries that they are responsible for promoting a ‘general environment of zero tolerance.’
Violence and harassment are defined by the Convention 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, and includes gender-based violence and harassment.’
The Convention protects workers and other people in the world of work. The following categories of individuals are therefore protected:
- employees, as defined by national law and practice;
- individuals working irrespective of their contractual status;
- individuals in training including interns and apprentices;
- workers whose employment has been terminated;
- job seekers and job applicants;
- individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer.
The Convention applies to violence and harassment in the world of work occurring in the course of, linked with or arising out of work:
- in the workplace, including public and private spaces where they are a place of work;
- 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;
- through work-related communications, including those enabled by information and communication technologies;
- in employer-provided accommodation;
- when commuting to and from work.
Protection and prevention
Each member state must adopt legislation requiring employers to take appropriate steps to prevent violence and harassment. This may include:
- adopting and implementing, in consultation with workers and their representatives, a workplace policy on violence and harassment;
- taking into account violence and harassment and associated psychosocial risks in the management of occupational safety and health;
- identifying hazards and assessing the risks of violence and harassment, with the participation of workers and their representatives, and taking measures to prevent and control them;
- providing workers and others concerned with information and training, in accessible formats as appropriate, on the identified hazards and risks of violence and harassment and the associated prevention and protection measures.
Policy for preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work
Each member state must adopt (in consultation with representative employers’ and workers' organisations) an 'inclusive approach’ designed to prevent and eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work.
According to the Convention, this approach should take into account violence and harassment involving third parties, and includes in particular:
- ensuring that relevant policies address violence and harassment;
- ensuring access to remedies and support for victims;
- ensuring effective means of inspection and investigation of cases of violence and harassment etc.
Entry into force
The Convention is an international, legally binding instrument and will come into force 12 months after it is ratified by two member states. However, the Recommendation, which provides indications about how the Convention should be applied, is not legally binding.
What’s the situation in Luxembourg?
In Luxembourg, there are two bodies of texts dealing with harassment in the workplace:
- The Labour Code, more specifically articles L. 241-1 (harassment based on gender), L. 245-1 (sexual harassment) and L. 251-1 (discriminatory harassment);
- The Convention of 25 June 2009 on harassment and violence at work declared generally binding by the Grand Ducal Regulation of 15 December 2009 (covering harassment and violence at the workplace).