Historic International Convention Addressing Harassment in the Workplace

After years of collaboration between governments, employers and workers, the International Labour Organization adopted a new framework to end violence and harassment in the world of work. This will be a global minimum standard to prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work.

Governments that ratify the treaty will be required to:

  • develop national laws prohibiting workplace violence
  • take preventive measures
  • require employers to have workplace policies on violence.

The treaty also obligates governments to monitor situations of harassment and violence as well as provide complaint mechanisms for those who experience it. Additionally they must create protections and services to workers experiencing harassment or violence.

The Canadian Labour Congress’ Secretary-Treasurer Marie Clarke Walker served as Worker Vice-Chair for the negotiations. We are proud of the Canadian labour movement’s contributions to this historic work. We continue to fight to ensure safe and healthy workplaces for all of our members.

Previously, there was no international standard specifically addressing violence and harassment in the world of work. In 2018, the World Bank found that 59 out of the 189 countries studied had no specific legal provisions covering sexual harassment in employment.[i]

The new ILO convention and recommendation provide an opportunity to shape a future of work based on dignity and respect, free from violence and harassment.

The convention will enter into force one year after at least two countries have ratified it.

[i] The World Bank (2018) Women, Business and the Law 2018. Washington, DC: The World Bank.