France: New definition of Sexual Harassment in the Labour Code
The definition of sexual harassment in the Labour Code is amended. It is extended to include comments and behavior with a sexist connotation, as well as comments and behavior committed by several persons, whether or not in a concerted manner, without each of them having acted repeatedly. The changes to the Labour Code require company managers to review the content of their internal regulations (« règlement intérieur »). Indeed, they must recall the provisions relating to moral and sexual harassment and sexist behavior.
The definition of sexual harassment in the Labour Code is harmonised with the definition of the Criminal Code.
The first change consists in including repeated “sexist” comments or behaviour (in addition to those having a sexual nature). The second one aims at capturing “cyber harassment” committed by a group of persons. Sexual harassment is now also characterized:
- a) When the same employee is subjected to such comments or behavior by several persons, in a concerted manner or at the instigation of one of them, even though each of these persons has not acted repeatedly;
- b) When the same employee is subjected to such comments or behavior, successively, by several persons who, even in the absence of concerted action, know that such comments or behavior constitute a repetition
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
All companies having a “réglement intérieur” shall update it, as this document must contain specific wording in that respect. It is strongly advisable to adopt a policy implementing a reporting procedure to manage any alert.