Header graphic for print
International Labor and Employment Law

Workplace bullying, mobbing and harassment – a global hot topic

flag for Canadaflag for European Unionflag for Franceflag for Germanyflag for Italyflag for Spainflag for Swedenflag for United Kingdomflag for United StatesPosted in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, European Union, France, Germany, Harassment/Bullying, Italy, Norway, Québec (Canada), Spain, Sweden, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, United States

Around the world, the issue of bullying, mobbing and harassment at work is one which is attracting more and more attention, both in the media and through legal developments which are increasingly protective towards employees.  The growing worldwide prominence of this issue means it is more important than ever for multinational businesses to have global policies in place to prevent bullying, mobbing and harassment.  However, as is often the case, creating a policy that works for all jurisdictions is not always easy – the duties imposed on employers to prevent bullying, mobbing and harassment as well as the definition of these terms can vary widely across jurisdictions. Further complicating this challenge is the fact that national-level governments, courts and labor administrations have recently been setting and enforcing even stricter rules on this issue. For example, the French Labor Administration recently issued a new regulation emphasizing the role the state Labor Inspector plays when employees file harassment claims (Regulation DGT 2012/14 12 November 2012) and in the UK, there have been recent cases which have expanded the definition of harassment to cover both “associated characteristics” (where someone is harassed not because of a characteristic they possess but because of a characteristic of someone with whom they are associated) and “perceived characteristics” (where someone is harassed because they are perceived to have a particular characteristic which they do not in fact have).

This post outlines the main rules that are applicable with regard to workplace moral harassment in several key European jurisdictions: Bullying, Harassment and Stress in the workplace – A European Perspective.