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Employers for Respect – Harassment-free Workplaces

on 9 October 2019

In Romania, 9 out of 10 people that have experienced harassment at the workplace are women, and the majority of them are under 30 years old. The latest updates in the legislation on equality of opportunity require employers to develop internal policies to prevent and report sexual harassment at the workplace.

On 17 October  2019, A.L.E.G. will organize the conference “Employers for respect – Anti-harassment Policies at the Workplace”. The event seeks to bring together employers from both the private and public sectors to discuss good practices on ensuring a healthy work environment, free of discrimination.

In April this year, the Government adopted the Methodological norms for the application the provisions of Law 202/2002 on equal opportunities and treatment between men and women, which require employers to develop internal policies to prevent and fight sexual harassment and sex-based discrimination at the workplace, as well as to appoint an employee with responsibilities in this field.

Sexual harassment is a wide-spread, yet rarely reported phenomenon, manifested through unwanted physical, verbal and nonverbal behaviors with sexual connotation, intended to or resulting in undermining a person’s dignity and the creation of a hostile, degrading and offensive work environment. The forms and gravity of sexual harassment vary from unpleasant jokes, gestures and comments with sexual connotation, to inappropriate and unwanted touching and soliciting sexual favors. According to studies conducted over the last 16 years, in Romania, the large majority of persons who have experienced sexual harassment at the workplace are women. Women aged 16 to 30, from urban areas, of higher education working in service companies are the most affected. Most often, the harassers are people in hierarchically superior roles.

“Since the #MeToo movement and especially after this summer’s case in Caracal [when the police failed to act promptly and to properly investigate a case of kidnapping and sexual violence against girls], women in Romania have started to talk more openly about the abuses that they are subjected to. It’s clear that tolerated abuse has long-term effects, not only affecting the victims, but also resulting in negative consequences for the larger community. It is vital to create effective mechanisms through with to report and penalize sexual harassment cases, in accordance with the law. That is why we urge employers to take the new legal provisions regarding sexual harassment seriously and to apply them accordingly”, Camelia Proca, the Executive Director of A.L.E.G.

“Studies show that workplace harassment has negative effects not only for the persons directly affected, but also for the companies. Workplaces that tolerate sexual harassment are hostile, which leads to a gradual decline in employee productivity, absenteeism and staff fluctuations. All these result in additional costs for employers. Moreover, handling workplace sexual harassment inadequately negatively affects the companies’ reputation, both internally and externally. Through this initiative, we aim to support employers’ efforts to create healthy workplaces and to promote those employers that prioritize this endeavor, by launching the White Charter of Employers for Respect”, Georgiana Epure, Project Coordinator.

The conference will include presentations on the latest legislative updates in the field of equality of opportunity at the workplace and on the employers’ role in fighting harassment and discrimination. A.L.E.G. will support the participating institutions to develop relevant internal policies free of charge and will also launch an exhibition about women’s rights, which employers can temporarily host and use as a way to raise employees’ awareness on non-discrimination.

The conference Employers for Respect – Anti-harassment Policies at the Workplace is funded through a Women Deliver Young Leaders grant and is part of the 2019 Gender Equality Festival organized by A.L.E.G. The conference will take place on 17 October in the conference room at Sibiu County Council (str. Gen. Magheru nr. 14A). Entrance is free. Please register your company contact@aleg-romania.eu.

Abrudean AlexandraEmployers for Respect – Harassment-free Workplaces

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