Trade, hotels and restaurants account for most reported incidents of violence and harassment at work

HOTELS survey

According to the annual report of the competent department of the Labour Inspectorate, most reported incidents of violence and harassment come from the retail and wholesale trade (21%), hotels (12%) and catering (7%), as the specific characteristics of each sector have an impact on all kinds of abusive behaviour.

For another year (2023), the vast majority (95%) of complaints concern incidents of violence (verbal, physical, psychological) and only 5% of sexual harassment, underlining the long-standing tendency to underreport them, due to their specificity and the difficulty in proving them.

Regarding the gender of the affected workers, of the total number of complaints for 2023, 180 were women (60%) and 120 men (40%), confirming that the position of women in the labour market remains more vulnerable and weaker than that of men.

As regards the status of the complainant, it is found that in 105 (46%) of the 230 cases the issue relates to violence and harassment caused by the employer or the legal representative of the company and in the remaining 125 (54%) the complainant is another employee (supervisor, shift supervisor, etc.) or another person (board member, relative of the employer, etc.).

As Georgia Vazaki, head of the Labour Inspectorate’s independent department for the monitoring of violence and harassment at work, says: “The increased rate of out-of-court resolution of these particularly indistinct and unproven cases reflects, for yet another year, the particular zeal and interest shown by the labour inspectors, who make effective use of the entire current institutional framework. Our primary concern is to make it clear to the whole world of work that the current framework must be used as an excellent opportunity to change the work culture by demonstrating zero tolerance of violence and harassment. This will give a broader social dimension to ensuring a healthy and safe working environment for the benefit of workers, employees, employers and society as a whole.

In more detail, out of a total of 230 complaints:

  • 73 cases were resolved out of court, with the complainant undertaking taking appropriate and proportionate measures and issuing recommendations.
  • 12 cases were cancelled, either because the complainant or the complainant did not appear at the scheduled hearing, or because of a written statement to that effect by the latter, or because during the hearing no further specific incidents of violence and harassment were analysed in order to be subject to the special procedure of Article 18 of Law 4808/2021.
  • In 105 cases, the labour relations inspector conducting the procedure has recorded a reasoned recommendation for recourse to the competent courts, due to conflicting claims on disputed factual and legal issues that require judicial assessment.
  • In 25 cases, penalties totalling EUR 106 500 were imposed under the current regulatory framework.
  • A further 15 cases are ongoing.

Moreover, the increasing trend in the submission of work regulations by the companies obliged to do so, with integrated policies for the prevention and combating of violence and harassment, demonstrates the shift in work culture towards the intended demonstration of zero tolerance to similar incidents.

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