Convention No. 190 and Recommendation No. 206 are anchored in the Declaration of Philadelphia(1944), which states that “all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity”. The need to protect the dignity of all human beings has been intrinsic to the work of the ILO since its outset. Throughout its history, the ILO has adopted a number of standards that have the objective of protecting workers in general, or certain categories of workers, against situations in which violence and harassment is present (see table at page 3) (ILO 2017a; 2016a). For instance, some of the illegal forms of work addressed in the ILO fundamental Conventions inherently relate to violence (ILO 2017a). 1 Other international labour standards either refer directly to various manifestations of violence and harassment in the world of work, or have been considered by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) to cover certain manifestations of violence and harassment. A number of ILO instruments relate to occupational safety and health (OSH) and set out to protect workers’ safety and health, including from the risk of violence and harassment. 2 Even if violence and harassment may not be explicitly addressed in these instruments, such conduct does constitute a health risk. ILO social security instruments set out the right to medical and allied care and rehabilitation, including psychological care and treatment for victims of work-related injuries (work accident or occupational diseases), and in case of general sickness. They
also seek to ensure the provision of periodical payments in the event of temporary incapacity to work, permanent loss of earning capacity or death. 3
Selected provisions on violence and harassment included in other ILO Conventions, Protocols and Recommendations.
|Conventions||Provisions on violence and harassment|
|Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No.29), and its 2014 Protocol;
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
|Convention No. 29 defines forced or compulsory labour as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily” (Art. 2(1)). The “menace of a penalty” should be understood in a very broad sense, covering penal sanctions, as well as various forms of coercion, such as physical violence, psychological coercion, retention of identity documents, etc. The penalty here in question might also take the form of a loss of rights or privileges (ILO 2012).|
|Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87);
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)
|While the instruments do not include an explicit prohibition of violence against trade union activities, the ILO, the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards and the Committee on Freedom of Association have – in line with the 1970 Resolution concerning trade union rights and their relation to civil liberties – consistently stressed the interdependence between civil liberties and trade union rights, and in particular the importance for trade unions to operate in a climate free from violence, pressure and threats of any kind (ILO 1970; 2012).|
|Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138);
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)
|The worst forms of child labour inherently include physical an psychological violence and harassment (Convention No. 182, Art.3(a)–(d)). In addition, possible exposure to violence and harassment is relevant for identifying hazardous work (Convention No. 138, Art.3(1); Convention No. 182, Art. 3(d)) (ILO 2012).|
|Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)||Sexual harassment is considered a serious form of sex discrimination falling within the scope of the Convention (Art. 1) (ILO 2012). Definitions of discrimination should also include discrimination-based harassment as a serious form of discrimination, in particular racial harassment (ILO CEACR 2019).|
|Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169)||Article 20(3) provides that workers belonging to indigenous peoples should enjoy protection from sexual harassment.|
|Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181)||Article 8(1) calls for the adoption of measures to provide adequate protection for, and prevent abuses of, migrant workers recruited or placed in a Member State’s territory by private employment agencies.|
|Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006)||Guideline B4.3.1 requires the competent authority to ensure that the implications of harassment and bullying for health and safety are taken into account. Guideline B4.3.6 provides that, with respect to investigations, consideration should be given to the inclusion of problems arising from harassment and bullying.|
|HIV and AIDS Recommendation, 2010 (No. 200)||Paragraph 14(c) requires measures to be taken in or through the workplace to reduce the transmission and alleviate the impact of HIV by, among other things, “ensuring actions to prevent and prohibit violence and harassment in the workplace”.|
|Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) and Recommendation (No. 201)||Article 5 requires Member States to take measures to ensure that domestic workers enjoy effective protection against all forms of abuse, harassment and violence. Paragraph 7 of Recommendation No. 201 refers to the establishment of mechanisms to protect domestic workers from abuse, harassment and violence, including creating accessible complaint mechanisms, ensuring that all complaints are appropriately investigated and prosecuted, and establishing programmes for the relocation and rehabilitation of domestic workers subjected to abuse, harassment and violence.|
|Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204)||Paragraph 11(f) calls for the adoption of a comprehensive policy framework, which should include “the promotion of equality and the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence, including gender-based violence, at the workplace”.|
|Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205)||Paragraph 15(e) states: “In responding to discrimination arising from or exacerbated by conflicts or disasters and when taking measures for promoting peace, preventing crises, enabling recovery and building resilience, Members should: … (e) prevent and punish all forms of gender-based violence, including rape, sexual exploitation and harassment, and protect and support victims.”|
1 The ILO Governing Body has identified eight “fundamental” Conventions covering subjects that are considered to be fundamental principles and rights at work: freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; the effective abolition of child labour; and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. These principles are covered by the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) (ILO 2019a; 2018e). For more information see: ILO, “Conventions and Recommendations”.
2 ILO occupational safety and health (OSH) standards include the: Occupational Safety and Health Convention (No. 155) and Recommendation (No. 164), 1981; Protocol of 2002 to the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981; Occupational Health Services Convention (No. 161) and Recommendation (No. 171), 1985; List of Occupational Diseases Recommendation, 2002 (No. 194); and Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention (No. 187) and Recommendation (No. 197), 2006.
3 The main ILO standards on employment injury benefits are: Part VI of the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102); Employment Injury Benefits Convention, 1964 [Schedule I amended in 1980] (No. 121); Employment Injury Benefits Recommendation, 1964 (No. 121); and List of Occupational Diseases Recommendation, 2002 (No. 194).