New agreement on initiatives against sexual harassment in Denmark

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Written by: Sara Baldus, Norrbom Vinding

The Danish government and social partners have concluded a tripartite agreement on sexual harassment to support and encourage a cultural change in this area.

The Danish government and the social partners have reached an agreement on initiatives to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Made up of 17 initiatives, the agreement will provide the tools employers need to prevent and address sexual harassment and support cultural change in certain workplaces. The 17 initiatives are divided according to the main themes presented below.

Legal framework

The tripartite agreement contains five initiatives which aim to clarify the responsibilities and duties of employers, but also of employees, with regard to sexual harassment. It is proposed to increase the level of compensation for sexual harassment under the Equal Treatment Act, and it is also possible to seek compensation from the offender, which will be relevant in where the offender is not the employer.

In addition, it will be easier for the aggrieved party to identify the facts from which it can be presumed that sexual harassment has taken place.

Finally, the employer’s duty to provide a harassment-free environment and the employee’s duty to draw attention to sexual harassment will be clarified.

These initiatives require amendments to the Equal Treatment Act and the Working Environment Act. The government will therefore submit a bill on these initiatives to the Folketing (Danish parliament).

work culture

The Tripartite Agreement contains three initiatives that aim to enable individual organizations to focus on sexual harassment and a healthy work culture. Initiatives include policies to address and prevent sexual harassment and focus on sexual harassment in the workplace linked to health and safety risk assessments (known as VPAs). Furthermore, the social partners have drawn up a code on the use of confidentiality clauses.

Knowledge of sexual harassment

The Tripartite Agreement contains three initiatives which deal with collecting information on the experience of the initiatives of the Danish Work Environment Authority. It also stipulates that the Danish Work Environment Authority must report annually on the number of decisions, directives, etc. regarding sexual harassment.

Trainees and apprentices

The Tripartite Agreement contains five initiatives that aim to strengthen the legal position of trainees and apprentices in complaints of sexual harassment. Among them, a clarification of the possibility of terminating the training agreement between a trainee or an apprentice and the employer in the event of sexual harassment and the introduction of more lenient deadline rules and faster processing of cases of harassment. sex within the Dispute Board.

The initiatives will require amendments to the Vocational Training Act.

A focus on the future

Finally, the tripartite agreement contains a proposal to establish an alliance with relevant organizations from the labor market, the education sector and civil society with a view to preventing sexual harassment.

Hourly

Initiatives that can be implemented without changes to the law came into effect immediately after the conclusion of the Tripartite Agreement on March 4, 2022. Initiatives that require changes to the law will only be implemented after review and adoption by the Folketing.

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