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Unfortunately, we frequently encounter workers who claim that they or one of their co-workers are victims of workplace harassment.

But what behaviors constitute workplace harassment? How can my company deal with this type of situation? What should I take into account when a case of workplace harassment occurs in my company?
The above questions will be answered in the following A, B, C of Labor Harassment, which we have prepared for you.

A. WHAThat conduct constitutes workplace harassment?

In the Colombian legal system, these conducts are described in Law 1010 of 2006, as any persistent and demonstrable conduct, exercised on an employee, by a boss or immediate or immediate superior, a co-worker or a subordinate; aimed at instilling fear, intimidation, terror and anguish, to cause labor prejudice, generate demotivation at work, or induce resignation from it.

Subsequently, the regulation goes on to specify the behaviors that constitute workplace harassment and classifies them in the following modalities:

  1. Labor mistreatment.
  2. Labor persecution.
  3. Employment discrimination.
  4. Labor disturbance.
  5. Labor inequality.
  6. Lack of labor protection.

In this regard, we recommend that, in contexts in which your employees are likely to be exposed to the situations described above, it is important that you activate all the systems for dealing with harassment at work that are described in your company’s internal work regulations.

B. How can my company deal with this type of situation?

It should be clarified that all companies have the obligation to maintain a coexistence committee and with this, the necessary guidelines to comprehensively address situations of harassment, always in compliance with the special, labor and constitutional law. In other words, an internal, confidential, conciliatory and effective procedure, in addition to striving in all cases to generate policies to prevent harassment.

In such procedures, it will be important to open spaces in which the parties involved are heard, in a free manner and where they can provide the evidence they deem necessary and that will allow a fair and adequate sanction to be imposed as described in Article 10 of Law 1010 of 2006. Consequences ranging from fines to dismissal with just cause of the person who causes the harassing conduct.

C. What should I take into account when a case of workplace harassment occurs in my company?

It is really important that you take into account the following points when facing and intervening in a situation of harassment at work:

  1. With the filing of a labor harassment complaint, the person filing the complaint will begin to enjoy reinforced labor stability, which will be effective for six (6) months as of the filing of the complaint. In this regard, remember that in order to terminate the employment relationship, it will be necessary to request an authorization from the Ministry of Labor.
  2. With the enactment of Law 1010 of 2006, all companies were obliged to adapt their work regulations to include the provisions set forth in said law.
  3. Your company’s coexistence committee should meet periodically, even if there are no complaints of workplace harassment, remember that one of the tasks of this group of people is to prevent harassment.
  4. In the event that the complaint filed does not have a factual or reasonable basis in the opinion of the labor judge or the labor inspector, a financial penalty may also be imposed on the worker who reported the complaint.

As we have seen, roughly speaking, harassment at work is not a matter that employers can take lightly, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a professional team that can establish the necessary foundations to successfully deal with a situation such as the ones described above.

By: Katherine Álvarez Gil


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