French labour law : how to react to a situation of sexual or moral harassment (harcèlement sexuel ou moral) at work?

The process of denouncing harassment at work can be particularly difficult to undertake and the employees can fear for reprisals.

1) Definition of sexual and moral harassment (harcèlement sexuel et moral) according to French Labour Code

Before doing so, it is necessary to recall the way in which the Labour Code defines sexual harassment (harcèlement sexuel) and moral harassment (harcèlement moral) in order to precisely define its contours.

1.1) Definition of moral harassment (harcèlement moral) (article L.1152-1 C. trav.)

Moral harassment (harcèlement moral) is defined by Article L.1152-1 of French Labour Code.

These are repeated acts that have the purpose or effect a deterioration of working conditions that may affect the employee's rights and dignity, alter his or her physical or mental health, or could jeopardize her / his professional future.

Moral harassment can for example be humiliations, vexatious remarks, sidelining (mise à l’écart), anxiety-provoking management methods (méthodes de management anxiogènes), etc.

The repeated nature of the facts is a necessary condition for defining harassment.

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Frédéric CHHUM

Avocats à la Cour (Paris et Nantes)

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