The European Parliament and the Council took a bold step toward prohibiting sexual harassment throughout workplaces in the European Union (EU) when it recently enacted amendments to the 1976 Equal Treatment Directive (European Parliament and the Council, 2002). The public policy objective of Directive 2002/73/EC (hereafter, "the Directive") is to harmonize the Member States' laws regarding the equal treatment of men and women. As Member States (currently 15 nations, soon to be 25) adopt laws implementing the Directive, sexual harassment will be recognized as a form of gender-based discrimination throughout the EU.
In June 2004, a report was commissioned for the European Union, by the government of Ireland in conjunction with FGS Consulting to establish the position of EU member states and their progress to fight against Sexual Harassment and Harassment based on Sex in the Workplace.
Some of the findings included
- Limited existence of Codes of Practice dealing with Sexual Harassment across the EU countries
- Only 4 countries have legally binding Codes of Practice
- Low level of coverage of Sexual Harassment/Harassment based on Sex in Collective Agreements
- Indicators that Sexual Harassment has not achieved a high level of priority within the context of Collective Bargaining.
- In most systems, indiviual harassers, as well as employers may be held liable for Sexual Harassment
- Sigificant variation as to liability when Sexual Harassment occurs outside the workplace/normal working hours
- Little consistency of practice to which bodies complaints of Workplace Sexual Harassment can be bought to, support mechanisms available to the complainant, or remedies for Sexual Harassment
- A general absence of any Grievence Procedures
Read full report here
What has happened since then? see below ...