EUROFOUND has published a report which describes the extent of workplace violence and harassment in the EU28 and Norway.
It is based on national-level surveys conducted between 2009 and 2013, as well as on results from Eurofound’s fifth European Working Conditions Survey. The writers of the report analyse the impact of workplace harassment and violence on workers’ health and on corporate productivity. They compare the national policies implemented by governments and the social partners to address these issues.
In recent years, greater work intensity, greater job insecurity, increased workplace conflict and poor managerial practices have fostered violence and harassment at work. 14% of the Europeans surveyed said that they had been exposed to such cases.
According to the national surveys, women, immigrant workers, temporary workers and apprentices are the most affected. Certain sectors are also more especially concerned, such as the social and medical sectors, transport, storage and services.
Since 2000, some countries, especially northern European countries, in which a relatively high proportion of workers say that they are victims of workplace harassment or violence, have developed and implemented proactive policies to combat these phenomena. Belgium, for example, has enacted specific legislation on psychosocial risks (PSRs). In the Netherlands, SMEs/VSEs have carried out effective prevention initiatives.
Despite this progress, violence and harassment are still frequent risks in the workplace. Often the victims feel helpless to act. They have a poor knowledge of their rights and are afraid of reprisals. That is why cases of violence and harassment are significantly under-reported.