Moral harassment

Moral harassment came to take importance since more and more cases were brought to the Court and moreover since the series of suicide of certain employees. It is defined from the articles L1152-1 to L1152-6 of the labor Code.

Any employer shall not have a humiliating or persecutory behavior toward his employees. He has to assure that employees have a respectful behavior between themselves. Any harassment behavior in a firm is punished by law. The law also establishes all the rights that persons that are either victims or witness can benefit.

Thus, no employee should be subject to repeated acts of moral harassment. One must take in account either if the moral harassment tend to deteriorate the working conditions in their object or in their effects, as long as it affects the employee’s dignity. The impairment of the mental physical health or the professional future reappraisal are also taken into account.
The key element of moral harassment is the assessment of the working conditions deterioration.
In that regard, it is essential to consider the repetition of any harassment act, it does not matter the character (to be exposed to a danger, bonus cancellation, allocation change, threat, reach private life) being various or identical. It is also important to mention that it is not a question of habit. It does not matter that the period is short, only the multiplicity of the acts matters.

In that regard, the director has the duty to undertake any necessary act in order to prevent these dealings. The director is bind by an obligation of result according to the social chamber of the French Supreme Court, in a case dated on the 21st of June, 2006 (n°05-43.914).
The victim is entitled to ask the judicial termination of her labor contract in the case where the director fails to fulfill his obligation (French Supreme Court, social chamber, February 21st, 2007).

In the case where an employee suffered, or refused to suffer from or testified against such acts, he cannot be punished, dismissed or be subject to a discriminatory act, being direct or not.
Any breaking of the contract resulting from what is quoted above shall be null and void.

Mediation procedure can be seek by the victim of moral harassment or by the person implied. The parties have to choose the mediator by a mutual agreement.

If a dispute arises, the burden on proof favors the victim. However, the employee will be in charge to establish the fact that can presume the existence of moral harassment. Judges are bound to do an accurate assessment of moral harassment evidences.

The personal liability of the perpetrator, whether he is employee or employer, will be engaged. He could be subject to disciplinary sanction. The victim has the right to claim compensation for her moral damages.

The moral harassment is likely to be punished by a 15.000 euros fine, and one year and a half jail.

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