Violence and harassment can constitute a violation or abuse of human rights, are a threat to equal opportunities, and are unacceptable and incompatible with decent work. Violence and harassment in the world of work affect people’s psychological, physical and sexual health, as well as their family and social environment. (Preamble to Convention 190-ILO)
In Brazil, as well as in the world, issues related to harassment and violence at work draw more and more attention, and their confrontation is of fundamental importance.
Situations of harassment and violence mobilize feelings such as embarrassment, humiliation, interfere in the work environment, affect the dignity of the person targeted by the attacks, and put their job and their mental and physical health at risk.
Such situations, which have women as the main victims, are commonly related to situations of discrimination.
According to data from the Federal System of Labor Inspection (SFITWEB), between 2014 and 2021, the Labor Inspection received 5,933 external demands containing the attribute “discriminatory practices”. Data from the MPT- Public Ministry of Labor indicate that, from 2016 to 2021, there were more than 58,000 complaints (factual news) related to moral harassment, 193 Conduct Adjustment Terms (TAC) and 83,653 Public Civil Actions (ACP).
Between January 2015 and January 2021, approximately 26,000 people filed lawsuits for sexual harassment in the workplace. The average was 204 cases opened per month in 2020, which represented almost seven actions per day, an average that remained in the first quarter of 2021 (when the information was provided).
The Patrícia Galvão Institute released a survey carried out by the Data Lawyer jurimetry consultancy, which points out that the number of labor claims whose initial claims mention the term “sexual harassment” has tripled in Brazil in the last four years, currently totaling 48 thousand cases.
The aforementioned Institute points out that this number could be even higher, since the figure considers only public processes, since all processes that are being processed or were processed under secrecy of justice, a common procedure in actions that deal with sexual harassment, did not enter this account. .
In this wake, in 2019 the International Labor Organization – ILO, approved Convention 190, called the Convention on Violence and Harassment.
With the aim of preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work, Convention 190 recognizes that these practices lead to the violation of human rights, are a threat to equal opportunities and are incompatible with decent work.
Despite the fact that the theme itself of Convention 190 already constitutes a great advance, there are several other specific references to women’s work in that normative. As an example, the Convention recognizes that violence and harassment disproportionately affect women, and that it is essential to ending violence and harassment in the world of work, “the adoption of an inclusive, integrated and gender-sensitive approach, that addresses underlying causes and risk factors, including gender stereotypes, the multiplicity and intersection of forms of discrimination, and the unequal gender-based power relations”.
The Convention also addresses domestic violence, withdrawing the subject from private debate by recognizing that this type of violence affects women’s participation in the world of work, their productivity, their access to employment and their health, establishing, in this way, that they must be appropriate measures taken to recognize the effects of domestic violence and to mitigate its impact on the world of work.
It is worth mentioning that, considered as “a set of unacceptable behaviors and practices” by Convention 190, harassment and violence generally occur in environments where these abusive behaviors or inappropriate behaviors are accepted (by omission or connivance), or when they are trivialized or naturalized by the organizational culture. Therefore, the focus of the approach should be on the elements of work organization that favor, encourage and/or perpetuate such practices, thus preventing and combating them is the employer’s responsibility.
Finally, we emphasize that Brazil does not yet have specific legislation on moral harassment, and Convention 190, which has not yet been ratified by the country, constitutes an important instrument in the fight for equal opportunities and against all types of violence. against women.
On March 8, when International Women’s Day was celebrated, Brazil began the procedures for the ratification of Convention 190, forwarding it to the National Congress.
Quoting UN Women Regional Director for the Americas and the Caribbean, María Noel Vaeza, we join the chorus of women for the ratification of Convention 190:
“I hope that governments will commit to the Convention, that more countries will ratify it and that concrete mechanisms will be generated to end violence and harassment at work, which, as we know, disproportionately affect women.”
* Odete Reis is a labor tax auditor and director of education at ITD (Instituto Trabalho Digno).
** This is an opinion article. The author’s view does not necessarily express the editorial line of the newspaper Brazil in fact.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho
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