High Commissioner appears before National Council

High Commissioner appears before National Council

16 May 2017

In conjunction with her remit to provide an opinion, as set out in article 33 of Sovereign Ordinance No. 4.524 of 30 October 2013, the High Commissioner visited the National Council on 16 May 2017 for a hearing as part of the Legislation Committee’s review of Bill n° 908 on harassment and violence at work. The High Commissioner, Anne Eastwood, was accompanied to the hearing by her deputy, Cécile Vacarie-Bernard.

Having previously advocated on a number of occasions for a review of this Bill to be added to the agenda, the High Commissioner welcomed the prospect of the forthcoming vote on a law which will help to better combat harassment in the workplace, while also highlighting the shortcomings of the government’s bill, submitted to the Upper House in December 2012. The High Commissioner expressed particular concerns regarding the need to take into account commitments resulting from the Principality’s recent ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention).  

She therefore advised the legislative body to amend the law to take better account of the different realities encompassed by bullying in the workplace, the specific nature of sexual harassment and the enormous difficulty faced by victims in establishing proof, given that harassment is, by definition, insidious in nature.

The High Commissioner also invited the Committee to establish a genuine component focused on preventing this type of behaviour, to which employers, the various other stakeholders in the field of employment (staff representatives, occupational health and safety committees, occupational medicine bodies, labour inspectorates) and the civil service should contribute.