In the Working Conditions Act sexual harassment coincides with topics such as aggression, violence, discrimination and bullying under the term "psychosocial stress".
Under the Working Conditions Act, employers are obliged to pursue a working conditions policy to ensure that sexual harassment is prevented or, if that is not possible, at least limited as much as possible. To be able to do this properly, organizations are required to map all occupational health risks, including sexual harassment, in the risk assessment and evaluation. The action plan, which is based on risk assessment and evaluation, must include what the company will do to prevent the identified risks. The employees concerned must be informed about the risks and measures taken by the company. The employer must demonstrably carry out all these actions.
Section 7: 646 of the Dutch Civil Code prohibits the employer from distinguishing between men and women when entering into the employment contract, providing training to the employee, in terms of employment, in terms of employment when promoting and when terminating the employment contract.
According to the law, sexual harassment falls under the concept of unauthorized discrimination. The law defines sexual harassment as' any kind of verbal, non-verbal or physical behavior with a sexual connotation that has the purpose or effect of compromising the dignity of the person, especially when a threatening, hostile, offensive, humiliating or offensive situation is created. "
Prevention is of course better than cure. But in a lot of organisations a policy that completely prevents sexual harassment is an illusion. What is possible is to take the obligations arising from the Working Conditions Act seriously and implement a policy that is appropriate for the company. And if there is an incident, then follow the procedures agreed in advance and continue to act with care. Is this difficult? Yes. Is this possible? Undoubtedly not always, but without policy it will go wrong anyway. And unfortunately there are many companies that have not formulated any policy and if there is a situation, then everyone will do something. In addition, irreparable damage is often caused.
Unfortunately, it is very often the case that employers do not properly handle the assignment given to employer's by the legislator. Whether that is because people do not want to or cannot do so, the fact is that the employer does not comply with the task imposed by law. And then, unfortunately, irreparable mistakes are often made. It can go two ways. The alleged perpetrator is sidelined or dismissed on faulty grounds. But what unfortunately happens much more often is that the victim is the one that is dismissed. This is undesirable and of course not the intention of the legislator, but it does happen.
It is advisable to seek early advice on these kinds of difficult cases, which are often difficult to resolve and only get worse with the passage of time. Searching for a solution that fits the situation is often difficult, but not impossible. Please contact us. We want to assist you with advice and assistance in matters that are not easy to resolve. Our motto is not for nothing: "Your problem, our concern."
Hein Kernkamp will gladly help you further.