The Labour minister Dominique Vien trivialises sexual harassment and misses its objective is to respond to the movement #MoiAussi by weakening the protection of women workers, non-unionized, and judge the organization Action Travail des Femmes (ATF).
Rather than improve the conditions of these women, the reform of labor standards proposed through the bill 176 will have the effect not only to attack the legal protection of workers, but also to promote a system of amicable settlement that is not against the employer or harasser, critical Katia Atif, director of Action Working Women.
In the memory that the agency will submit at the end of the month by the parliamentary commission and that The Sun has obtained a copy, ATF writes that “the amendments proposed by the minister of Labour will have the effect of formalizing a system of regulation of complaints, to the string, and inexpensive, without regard to acts of unlawful interference to the rights of the person”.
The organization for the defence of workers ‘ rights criticized the government for not offering the choice to the employees of the possibilities of appeal available to them when they are victims of sexual harassment.
By including sexual harassment in the definition of psychological harassment, the bill promotes the processing of complaints to the standards Commission, equity, health and safety in the workplace (CNESST), rather than to the Commission of human rights (CDPDJ), contends ATF.
“The bill does not propose any change modifying the application parameters of the mediation to the CNESST in the area of discriminatory harassment”, one reads in the memory.
According to Ms. Atif, the victims are often poorly informed, turn to the mediation service in place since 2005 and provided for by the act respecting labour standards. Rather, they should be able to evaluate the possibility of filing a complaint with the CDPDJ, which has powers of investigation and enforcement the biggest, or the CNESST, depending on the severity of the harassment to which they are victims, ” said Atif.
“The CNESST may not take action against the harasser or against the employer. On the other hand, the Commission [of human rights] protects the victim,” and defends the constitutional rights of the latter, in advance to the director.
The act respecting labour standards provides for a dispute resolution focus on mediation. From the reception of a complaint filed in the CNESST, it will attempt an amicable settlement “without prior investigation, without regard to fault, its content, and its severity”.
According to the figures provided by ATF, the labour standards Commission has treated 23 880 complaints of psychological harassment in 10 years. Eighty-one percent of these complaints were resolved by the mediation service in the context of settlement agreements and confidentiality, without any recognition of fault.
“The fact is that the CNESST deals already have a large number of complaints of discriminatory harassment in employment, through the provisions on psychological harassment. Sexual harassment [, and other forms of harassment] are commingled psychological harassment through recourse to inadequate and the bill 176, no solution”, written Action of Women’s Work in his memory.
The organization advocates for a reinvestment of age in the CDPDJ, in order that it provides “the role of authority which belongs to him”.
The reform of labor standards proposed by the minister Vien incorporates the notion of sexual harassment to psychological harassment, which “trivialize” sexual harassment, believes Ms. Atif.
“The sexual harassment may not be included in the interpretation of psychological harassment according to the Law on labour standards, without trivializing the scope”, and defends the Action of women’s Work.
The human body relies on a memorandum written by the Commission of human rights, in which it stated that sexual harassment is rather a form of systemic discrimination against women.
The CDPDJ has not wanted to comment directly bill 176 or make a comment on the criticisms made by ATF. She explained being in the process of drafting its report, it will submit to a parliamentary committee.