The House of Representatives recently approved Bill No. 7864, which proposes to address the problem of bullying in labor relations.
This new law went into effect on April 9, 2023 .
Law of March 29, 2023 amending the Labor Code to introduce a system for protection against moral harassment in the workplace.
Definition of mobbing
Mobbing is defined by Article L.246-2 of the Labor Code as follows:
« constitutes moral harassment in the context of labor relations within the meaning of this chapter, any action which, by its repetition or systematization, undermines the dignity or the psychological or physical integrity of a person ».
This law defines a legal framework to prevent and deal with moral harassment, which responds to the interests of employers and all employees, as defined in article L.121-1 of the Labor Code, and therefore also to apprentices, trainees and pupils/students working during their school vacations.
Travel and professional training, communications in connection with or as a result of work by any means, even outside normal working hours, are an integral part of the performance of work.
The employer’s obligations
A series of measures that the employer must implement in the event of moral harassment within his company. However, if these measures fail to stop the harassment, the new law defines a procedure that must be followed by the Labor and Mines Inspectorate (ITM), in order to provide a detailed report, after taking statements from the injured victim and the alleged harasser.
It is then the employer’s responsibility to follow the recommendations listed in the ITM report.
Employee and witness protection
In addition, the new scheme also provides protection for the victim and witnesses, shielding them from potential retribution by the employer.
Role of the staff delegation
The law defines the role and responsibility of the staff delegation, which is responsible for ensuring that there are no cases of moral harassment within the company. Cases of moral harassment must be reported to them. The staff delegation can provide support and advice to the employee concerned.
Role of the Inspection du Travail et des Mines (ITM)
The employees or the staff delegation (with the agreement of the employee concerned) can refer the matter to the Labour and Mines Inspectorate (ITM).
The latter will interview the employee and the alleged harasser, as well as any witnesses and the employer or his representative, in order to present a report containing, if necessary, recommendations and proposals for measures to put an end to the acts of harassment.
In the presence of acts of moral harassment, the director of the ITM will order the employer to put an end to them immediately within a given period.
In case of non-compliance with the injunction, the director of the ITM will be entitled to impose an administrative fine on the employer.
Resignation due to moral harassment
With the introduction of this new legal framework, employees can exercise their right to terminate their employment contract without notice and receive damages paid by the employer.
Fines ranging from 251 euros to 2,500 euros are foreseen for all those who fail to comply with the new provisions of the Law.
EIn the event of a repeat offence —within two years— these penalties may be doubled.