A new convention to combat violence and harassment at work adopted at the 108th session of the International Labour Conference
A new Convention (C190) and accompanying Recommendation (206) to combat “violence and harassment” in the world of work have been adopted by the International Labour Conference (ILC) at its 108th session, held from 10 – 21st June, 2019.
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”.
The new convention aims to protect workers and employees, irrespective of their contractual status, and includes persons in training, interns and apprentices, workers whose employment has been terminated, volunteers, job seekers and job applicants.
It recognizes that “individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer” can also be subjected to violence and harassment.
The convention 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 (including through information and communication technologies), in employer-provided accommodation; and when commuting to and from work. It also recognizes that violence and harassment may involve third parties.
The Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019, and Violence and Harassment Recommendation, 2019, were adopted by delegates on the final day of the Centenary International Labour Conference, in Geneva. 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 will enter into force 12 months after two member States have ratified it. The Recommendation provides guidelines on how the Convention could be applied. Conventions are legally binding international instruments, while Recommendations provide advice and guidance.
The ILO, the UN’s agency dealing with world of work issues, marks its 100th year this year. The Centenary ILC – the 108th meeting of the Conference was attended by more than 5,700 delegates, representing governments, workers and employers from the ILO’s 187 member States.
The Conference is also expected to adopt a landmark ILO Centenary Declaration, focused on a human-centred approach to the future of work. This is the first new Convention agreed by the International Labour Conference since 2011, when the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) was adopted.
Source: International Labour Organization