ADEDY: The working environment in the public sector is favorable for sexual harassment

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The research was sampled in the general population of civil servants and at the same time an empirical study of qualitative type was carried out with the participation of 26 women who had experienced sexual harassment at work.

Four myths about her sexual harassment in his workplace Public comes to demolish her Social Polycenter investigation ADEDYwhich was presented at a press conference at the Ministry of Interior, in the presence of Minister Makis Voridis.

The research was sampled in the general population of civil servants and at the same time an empirical study of qualitative type was carried out with the participation of 26 women who had experienced sexual harassment at work.

According to the results of the research, presented by the president of Polycentro, Giorgos Iulias, the beliefs of the majority that there is no sexual harassment in the public sector because there is job security, that sexual harassment is practiced exclusively by superior men to inferior women are not valid , that sexual harassment is reported when it occurs and that sexual harassment when reported is prosecuted and the perpetrators are punished.

Most women describe one unpleasant work environment them, using words such as “toxic”, “negative”, “aggressive”, “competitive” and even “dangerous”, while only two women describe their work environment in positive words.

Eleven of the 26 interviewees said they considered quitting their jobs after such behaviors, while 14 women chose not to report the incident to management as they did not feel comfortable reporting it, and only 11 proceeded to report the incident, but with meager results.

According to the research, often the abuser is covered by a group of colleagues or even by the organization’s management, resulting in the harassment continuing:

“Willingly or not, they were covering for the boss. […] Half of them were biased in favor of the superior for reasons of work interest. The rest kept their distance, because they were afraid of a bad rating or a relegation,” said a 52-year-old who participated in the survey.

Some complained that a factor affecting the work environment is the pressures on them to engage in irregularities or to “turn a blind eye” to even illegalities, which their superiors engage in internally.

It is also important that acquaintances play a role in targeting some women, and even more so in dealing with incidents, if they are new workers in a service and if they have family and friends in a region, province or municipality, while connections play an important role of the harasser – abuser with political parties or even with trade unions.

The testimony of a 37-year-old woman is typical: “We were playing in his (the abuser’s) field. He was from there, they knew him! This was their fellow villager, the one they would see tomorrow at the tavern. I had gone for a job there and I was going to leave! Or if I were from there would he behave in such a way, knowing that my whole family is around and I would spoil him?’

They are also mentioned in the survey incidents of physical and psychological violence or exerting pressure on some female employees, where colleagues hit them, throw objects at them or act threateningly against them. Also, of the 15 women who reported incidents of moral harassment, in one case an attempt was made to cause serious bodily harm and in two cases the abuser tried to physically assault her, while one employee reported sexual harassment against her at her workplace.

In terms of dealing with the phenomena, most women reported that they knew that harassment, moral or sexual, is illegal, however, only two cases of sexual harassment managed to report the incident to justice. However, no justice has been served so far and in both cases the women were counter-sued for misleading the court and forming a gang in one case and for providing false information in another case.

Referring to the conclusions of the investigation, the president of ADEDY, Dimitris Bratis pointed out the need to update the legislative framework that governs civil servants, in accordance with current international and EU law, while at the same time, it is proposed to immediately draw up a “Protocol for the prevention and response of sexual harassment in the public sector” to the good practice standards of other organizations in Europe and Greece.

Mr. Voridis appeared positive in supplementing and expanding the Code of Public Servants for the effective disciplinary prosecution of sexual harassment. The Home Secretary referred to the new institution of the Integrity Adviser, who examines related complaints and noted that complaints should be investigated and there should be a sense of legal certainty that the other person will be able to be heard and that they will find their right.

On the subject, ADEDY has issued a Guide to dealing with sexual harassment in the public sector, which will be distributed to public bodies. The Guide, among other things, articulates the definition of sexual harassment, summarizes research findings, and provides guidance to public employees who experience sexual harassment on where to go to report such incidents.

RES-EMP

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