ILO adopts new Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work

In June 2019, the ILO adopted a new Convention and Recommendation on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, at the 108th session of the International Labour Conference.

The Convention provides a broad definition of what "violence and harassment in the world of work" means and where it can take place, and says that everyone in the world of work has the right to be free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence.

It requires governments to take measures to protect workers from violence and harassment, especially women.

The recommendation includes advice for how governments can make these changes.

Our statement is available here.

Find out more here.

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Article
22 June 2019

New ILO Convention adopted to combat violence and harassment in the workplace

Author: International Labour Organization

"New international labour standard to combat violence, harassment, at work agreed", 21 June 2019

...For the Convention, 439 votes were cast in favour, seven against, with 30 abstentions. The Recommendation was passed with 397 votes in favour, 12 votes against and 44 abstentions...

The Convention recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work “can constitute a human rights violation or abuse…is a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.”

It defines “violence and harassment” as behaviours, practices or threats “that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm.” It reminds member States that they have a responsibility to promote a “general environment of zero tolerance”.

...aims to protect workers and employees, irrespective of their contractual status...

It recognizes that “individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer” can also be subjected to violence and harassment.

 The standard covers violence and harassment occurring in the workplace; places where a worker is paid, takes a rest or meal break, or uses sanitary, washing or changing facilities; during work-related trips, travel, training, events or social activities; work-related communications...in employer-provided accommodation; and when commuting to and from work. It also recognizes that violence and harassment may involve third parties...

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Article
21 June 2019

Human Rights Watch calls on governments to ratify new ILO Convention

Author: Human Rights Watch

"ILO: New Treaty to Protect Workers from Violence, Harassment", 21 June 2019

The adoption of a ground-breaking global treaty...will improve protections for workers facing violence and harassment, Human Rights Watch said today.

ILO member governments, worker representatives, and employers’ organizations spent two years negotiating the text and voted overwhelmingly to adopt the ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment, and an accompanying non-binding recommendation that provides guidance on the convention’s obligations.

 “Governments, workers, and employers have made history by adopting a treaty that sets standards for ending the scourge of violence and harassment in the world of work,” said Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The women who bravely spoke up about their #MeToo abuses at work have made themselves heard at this negotiation, and their voices are reflected in these important new protections.” 

Governments that ratify the treaty will be required to develop national laws prohibiting workplace violence and to take preventive measures...The treaty also obligates governments to monitor the issue and provide access to remedies...and to provide measures to protect victims and whistleblowers from retaliation...

“The #MeToo movement showed us just how pervasive violence and harassment is in many workplaces, but now we have a treaty that spells the beginning of the end to such cruelty,” said Begum. “Governments should now ratify this treaty and seek to make a safe world of work a reality.”

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