NNDKP Employment Flash No.1/2024 – Latest news in the labor law field

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Ratification of the Convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work

Law no. 69/2024 for accession to Convention No. 190/2019 concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work (adopted at the 108th Session of the International Labor Conference of the International Labor Organization in Geneva on 21 June 2019) was published on April 2, 2024, in the Official Gazette Part I no. 285 (the “Convention”).

The Convention “protects workers and other persons in the world of work, including employees as defined by national law and practice, as well as persons working irrespective of their contractual status, persons in training, including interns and apprentices, workers whose employment has been terminated, volunteers, jobseekers and job applicants, and individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer”.

The term “violence and harassment” in the world of work is defined as a range of unacceptable behaviors 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.

Moreover, the term “gender-based violence and harassment” refers to violence and harassment directed at persons because of their sex or gender or affecting persons of a particular sex or gender disproportionately and includes sexual harassment.

A new aspect brought by the Convention is the broadening of the framework in which certain actions constitute violence and harassment in the world of work. 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 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 (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 set out in the Convention are already reflected in the national 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 world of work;
  • occupational safety and health;
  • the inspection and investigation of cases of violence and harassment;
  • gender issues and discrimination;
  • public health (monitoring the provision of medical care and psychological counseling);
  • mechanisms for resolving conflicts within and outside the workplace;
  • social protection of victims.

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

With this occasion, it should be noted that at the end of last year, the Government Decision no. 970/2023 for the approval of the Methodology on the prevention and combating of gender-based harassment and moral harassment at the workplace (the “Methodology”) was published in the Official Gazette.

The Methodology includes a Guide on the prevention and combating of gender-based harassment and moral harassment at the workplace, which must be implemented by all employers, adapting the model to their specific working conditions by April 17, 2024, with sanctions for failure to comply with existing regulatory obligations in this area reaching up to RON 50,000.

The Romanian version of this newsletter is available here.

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