Preventing violence and harassment

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Preventing violence and harassment Powered By Docstoc
					     RAISING AWARENESS ON
           MOBBING
                     AN EU PERSPECTIVE



                                 ELENA FERRARI




                                   APRIL 2004




DAPHNE PROGRAMME
EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Preventive Measures to Fight Violence Against Children,
Young People and Women
                                                          0
                               TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Mobbing                                         2

 1.1 Mobbing forms and characteristics             2
 1.2 Mobbing factors                               3

2. Mobbing in the EU                               4

 2.1 Mobbing & gender                              4

3. European Law                                    7

 3.1 Definitions                                   10

4. European Member States legislations             12

5. Non-EU Countries                                13

6. Acceding and Candidate Countries                14

7. Conclusion                                      16

Bibliography                                       18




                                                        1
1. MOBBING

Harassment in the workplace defines a particular violent behaviour aiming to hit the victim/s from a
psychological point of view. It can take many forms, occurs on a variety of grounds and may be
directed at one or more people.

Harassment changes with the culture and the social environments and, according to its specific features,
falls under different definitions: mobbing, bullying, bossing, intimidation, giving special emphasis to
the number of perpetrators or targets involved. Some of these terms have the same meaning some
others refer to slightly different situations among which is difficult to differentiate.

In line with the aim of this paper, I will focus on that particular kind of harassment defined as mobbing
in the majority of European Member States, especially the Northern ones and bullying in the Anglo-
Saxon countries. Other countries adopted their own terms but it is possible to affirm that
mobbing/bullying are the most widespread definitions. For this reason, from now on I will use them to
refer to all psychological violence, excluding specific discrimination on any grounds.



1.1 Mobbing forms and characteristics

As a matter of fact, it is important to stress that even if mobbing/bullying often overlaps into
discrimination and sexual harassment, it represents a different problem, whose characteristcs are still
difficult to be clearly identified as they can be confused among them or with merely episodic individual
problems which often occurs among people working together.

This concept is a very relative one as it is often specific to the person, relating to his or her feelings of
respect and dignity. It can range from violence to ignoring someone and may include:
             physical contacts;
             jokes, offensive language, gossip, yelling;
             posters, graffiti, obscene gestures;
             withholding information and resources, refusal to delegate work, arbitrary removal of
              responsibilities;
             isolation or non-cooperation and exclusion from social activities.

Mobbing/bullying can be usually a strategic one, when the mobber is the manager or the boss and its
actions are due to cost-benefit considerations or horizontal when the perpetrator/s is/are colleague/s and
in this case it is more due to social reasons. Even when the management doesn‟t represent the harasser
there is a very high risk that it supports the perpetrator or just ignores the violence, thus leading to a
double victimisation of the mobbed.




                                                                                                           2
1.2 Mobbing factors

As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that mobbing/bullying is the result of different factors,
such as:


            Individual factors which can apply to both the perpetrator and to the victim (socio-
             demographic variables; personality characteristics, traits and styles; specific behaviours; and
             specific characteristics of the individual‟s affiliation with their workplace1).
            Situational factors such as: Working in jobs with an unequal sex ratio, especially male
             dominated jobs; Differences in power which can have a formal (status) or an informal
             nature (experience); Job insecurity; Change of supervisor or manager; Working in
             businesses with a high customer service orientation which may lead to mobbing by clients
             in the service sectors (such as retailing, hotel and catering, and the health service); Multiple
             risk situations as it is the case of social workers.
            Organisational factors such as Leadership and management, in particular, an authoritarian
             style and a laissez-faire style, Change: restructuring; organisational culture and climate;
             stressful working environments; Job complexity and control as monotonous tasks; Conflict
             and ambiguity of work roles.
            Societal factors: Levels of violent crime in society; Economic change ; Rapid social change;
             Immigration and the rise of the informal economic sector .

Mobbing/bullying in the workplace has very severe consequences on victims, witnesses, businesses and
on the whole society.
It has costs in terms of stress, physical and mental illnesses, anxiety, lack of initiative and motivation,
absenteeism, which affect not only the direct victims but also their families and friends, and all the
people working in the organisation where the harassment occurs.
It has also a high economic impact on the health sector but also on the business itself. Mobbing leads to
organisational problems, sickness absence, premature retirement, replacement costs in connection with
labour turnover, reduced performance/productivity, loss of public reputation. The whole of society will
also be affected by economic and social costs.




1
    Preventing violence and harassment in the workplace

                                                                                                           3
2. MOBBING IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

A recent survey from the European Foundation for the Improvement of living and Working conditions
shows that 9% of workers (about 12 million people) had suffered mobbing/bullying over the last 12
months, in both the public and the private sectors. It is right to think that this data is biased by the fact
that the majority of mobbing/bullying cases are still unreported.

Mobbing/bullying takes place all over the EU. It has wide variations among Member States and
economic sectors due to different awareness, cultures and legal systems but it is seen to be on the
increase throughout all the European Union countries.




                                                                                       2




2.1 Mobbing and gender

Mobbing occurs regardless of the gender or age of the victim but women are usually more vulnerable
than men as they represent a smaller percentage of the total occupied population and they work in
sectors, occupations and jobs where more easily mobbing occurs. This data is confirmed by the
European Parliament which, in its „Resolution on Harassment at the Workplace 2001/2339 (INI)‟ states
that according to some research, women are more frequent victims than men both of strategic and
horizontal harassment.

As a matter of fact, studies show that sectors and works in which mobbing occurs more frequently are
the ones in which the majority of employees are women. This is true both at the European level and at
the National level.

The sector with the highest rate of mobbing/bullying seems to be the Public Administration (14%),
according to the Dublin Foundation 2000. Other sectors are the service and sales sectors (13%) and the
banking sector (10%) where mobbing can come also from clients.




2
  Paoli, P. and Merllié, D., Third European survey on working conditions 2000, European Foundation for the Improvement
of Living and Working Conditions, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2001.


                                                                                                                    4
                                                                                                   3



Moreover, it appears that mobbing/bullying is more widespread in those with high anxiety level
activities where women are more represented.

Another very important element is that more often than men, women are in situations which can
encourage mobbing, that is casual work, short-term contracts, insecure employment, low paid and low
status jobs.

Furthermore, women have proved to be more often victims of any kind of harassment. This is probably
due to the fact that women are more sensitive to negative acts as well as keen to report mobbing as the
Report of the Dublin Foundation explains.

According to the French Economic and Social Committee the profile of a typical harassment victim
deriving from National and International studies is a woman over 40 years or just at the beginning of
her career period.

A French family therapist Marie-France Hirigoyen affirms that in France 70% of victims are women.
This information is not confirmed by studies carried out at the European level, but it is particularly
interesting that she states that women are harassed in a different way from men. She also pointed out
that there is a theoretical distinction between psychological harassment and sexual harassment but that
often one leads to the other4.

Despite all these factors, it is still not possible to affirm undoubtedly that women are more mobbed than
men in all the European Member States. Statistics are biased by the level of awareness of different
countries, there aren‟t gender-specific national data and when there are, they show a varied situation
throughout the



3
  Paoli, P. and Merllié, D., Third European survey on working conditions 2000, European Foundation for the Improvement
of Living and Working Conditions, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2001.
4
  Opinion of the Committee on women‟s rights and equal opportunities

                                                                                                                    5
EU.




      6
3. European Law
As already said, within the EU the problem of mobbing is increasing and the European Institutions are
trying to find out methods to efficiently deal with it.
One of the best ways is to adapt and apply the laws already existing to this relatively new phenomenon.
At the same time, to write new laws which can better contribute to face the problem at the European
level and also to have a shared and agreed definition on mobbing.

As far as the EU is concerned, the Treaty of Rome generically affirms the principle of non-
discrimination. In a more specific way, the Treaty of Amsterdam stresses the same concept and, at art.
13 enables the Council to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or
ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Within the scope of art. 13, other
directives have been adopted to deal with racial discrimination and sexual harassment but it is only in
2001 that the European Parliament adopted a “Resolution on Harassment at the Workplace 2001/2339
(INI)” thus, specifically focusing on mobbing/bullying.

This resolution:

―Urges the Commission (…) to consider the need for legislative initiatives to this end;
Urges the Council and the Commission to include quantitative indicators relating to bullying at work;
Calls on the Member States, with a view to counteracting bullying and sexual harassment at work, to
review and, if appropriate, to supplement their existing legislation and to review and standardise the
definition of bullying;
Expressly emphasises the responsibility of the Member States and of society as a whole with regard to
bullying and violence at work (…);
Urges the Commission to consider a clarification or extension of the scope of the framework directive
on health and safety at work or, alternatively, the drafting of a new framework directive as a legal
instrument to combat bullying and as a means of ensuring respect for the worker’s human dignity,
privacy and integrity; emphasizes in this connection the importance of systematic work on health and
safety and of preventive action;
(…);
Emphasises the importance of closer investigation of the incidence of bullying at work related both to
aspects concerning the organisation of work and, for example, to sex, age, industrial sector and
profession; calls for this study to include an analysis of the particular situation of women who are
victims of harassment;
(…);
Urges the European institutions to set (…) appropriate sanctions policy;
(…);
Calls on the social partners within the Member States and at the Community level to develop their own
approaches to combating bullying and violence at work, (…);

The European Parliament also refers to the EC Framework Directive on Health and Safety at Work
(89/391/EEC) to verify whether it is applicable to mobbing/bullying at work. The Resolution stresses
that, as the directive was written to prevent physical risks to workers, it is difficult to widen its
statements to psychological risks. An attempt to do so may lead to leave dangerous gaps which can
then be hardly filled. Thus, the European Parliament suggests to adopt a new framework Directive
specifically tailored to tackle mobbing/bullying. It has also to take into account how difficult is to
produce evidence for it.

                                                                                                          7
The need for a more specific legislation on mobbing, as well as the adoption of preventive measures to
combat harassment in the workplace, has been reaffirmed several times by the EU.

In the Communication “Adapting to change in work and society: A new Community strategy on health
and safety 2002–2006”, the Commission stresses that new needs have emerged in the field of
promoting “well-being at work” , which now has to entail physical, moral and social well-being. It also
stresses the need that all the players are involved in the fight against psychological violence as it is a
phenomenon which depends on different factors and can be addressed only with an holistic approach
carried out simultaneously at the National and European level.

To this aim, the Commission will examine the appropriateness and the scope of a Community
instrument on psychological harassment and violence at work and will make the necessary legislative
proposals for consolidating the Community directives and for rationalising the implementation reports.

The urgency for the adoption of Guidelines which define the problem itself but also what can be done
and where responsibilities lie among employers, social parties, National Institutions and especially
European bodies has been affirmed by the European Commission‟s Advisory Committee on Safety,
Hygiene and Health Protection at Work, in its „Opinion on Violence at the Workplace‟.

Furthermore, the above-mentioned Resolution on Harassment at the Workplace 2001/2339 (INI) puts
the accent on the fact that there isn‟t an internationally accepted definition of mobbing/bullying at work
but there are many definitions, each stressing different features of the problem. Thus, the European
Parliament highlights some common characteristics:

―a lack of humanity at the workplace, personal experiences of bullying at work, a feeling of exclusion
from the social community there, encountering irreconcilable demands at work and not having the
wherewithal to meet these demands‖.

As back as 1995, due to the increase of psychological violence in the workplace and thus, to the need to
tackle the problem at the EU level, the European Commission suggested the following definition:

―Incidents where persons are abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work,
involving an explicit or implicit challenge to their safety, well-being and health‖.

to stress the fact that violence in the workplace is not only physical violence but there was an
increasing presence of psychological violence, whose consequences are often worst and more difficult
to identify.

This concept was then stressed and reaffirmed by the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and
Health Protection at Work of the European Commission in its “Opinion on Violence at the Workplace”,
adopted in 2001 which states that:

―Violence can be defined as a form of negative behaviour or action in the relations between two or
more people, characterised by aggressiveness, sometimes repeated, sometimes unexpected, which has
harmful effects on the safety, health and well-being of employees at their place of work.
Aggressiveness may take the form of body language indicating intimidation, contempt or disdain, or of
actual physical or verbal violence.
                                                                                                        8
Violence manifests itself in many ways, ranging from physical aggression to verbal insults, bullying,
mobbing and sexual harassment, discrimination on grounds of religion, race, disability, sex or, in any
event, difference and may be inflicted by persons both outside and inside the working environment.
It is important to bear in mind that physical violence can have consequences that are not only physical
but also psychological, which can be immediate or delayed‖

This document confirms the difference between physical and psychological violence but it also
underlines the growing concern on bullying, mobbing and sexual harassment, which are always more
widespread throughout Europe. As already stressed, these kinds of behaviours are very difficult to
identify and prevent, both for victims and supervisors as they can easily be confused with normal day-
to-day conflicts.
This definition is also very important as it introduces the so-called „micro‟ offences which constitute
the core features of mobbing.

The same document also gives a more specific definition of mobbing itself by saying:

―Mobbing is a negative form of behaviour, between colleagues or between hierarchical superiors and
subordinates, whereby the person concerned is repeatedly humiliated and attacked directly or
indirectly by one or more persons for the purpose and with the effect of alienating him or her.‖

However, it has been already stressed that often there is only a thin line between discrimination - sexual
harassment and mobbing/bullying. Thus, it can be very useful to recall the Council Directive
2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation which
defines discrimination by telling between:

“Direct discrimination: Where one person is treated less favourably on the above grounds than another
is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation.
Indirect discrimination: Where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons
(…) at a particular disadvantage compared with other unless: persons in other conditions, unless that
provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving
that aim are appropriate and necessary (…)‖.

It also states that :

“Harassment shall be deemed to be a form of discrimination (…), when unwanted conduct (…) takes
place with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating,
hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. In this context, the concept of harassment
may be defined in accordance with the national laws and practice of the Member States‖.




                                                                                                        9
3.1 Definitions

In spite of these examples, in its Resolution on Harassment at the Workplace 2001/2339 (INI) the
European Parliament itself stresses that the European Union hasn‟t suggested a clear official definition
for mobbing/bullying. The situation has not change since then.

On the contrary, many European countries are adopting specifically targeted laws to face the problem
and they formulated their own definition giving emphasis on specific forms of mobbing coherent with
the approach they adopted to deal with it at the National level.

Hereafter a sample of definitions:

UK
―Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means
intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient‖. British ACAS Code, Code of
practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Ireland
―Repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, wether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted
by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of
employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at
work. An isolated incident of the behaviour described in this definition may be an affront to dignity at
work but as once-off incident is not considered to be bullying‖.

Belgium
―Repeated abusive conduct of whatever origin, whether from inside or outside a company or
institution, manifested in particular by behaviour, words, threats, actions, gestures or one-sided texts
with the purpose or effect of violating the personality, the dignity or the physical or psychological
integrity of a worker or any other person to whom this chapter applies, in the conduct of their work,
placing their employment in jeopardy or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or
offensive environment‖. (Loi du 11 juin 2002 „relating to protection from violence, moral harassment
(bullying) and sexual harassment at the workplace‟)

France
―No employee should have to suffer repeated acts of moral harassment which have for their purpose or
effect a degradation of his working conditions liable to violate his rights and his dignity and to alter his
physical and mental health or to compromise his professional future‖. Article L 122-49, Paragraph 1 of
Code du Travail (Labour Code).

Spain
―Where bullying differs from other problems related to the organisation of work is in the intention to
cause harm, the targeting of one or more persons, repeatedly and over a period of time. In the absence
of these characteristics, we can speak of psychosocial risk factors arising from shortcomings in the
organisation of work, but not of bullying‖.. the Spanish Trade Union Institute of Work, Environment
and Health.




                                                                                                         10
Sweden
―Recurrent reprehensible or distinctly negative actions which are directed against individual
employees in an offensive manner and can result in those employees being placed outside the
workplace community‖. The Swedish Work Environment Authority 1993.

In 2001, EU working groups failed to agree on adoption of an EU-wide statute against mobbing due to
the opposition of business associations of Spain, Britain and Italy.




                                                                                                11
4. European Member States legislations

Mobbing in Europe has been confronted in a wide variety of ways which are still subjected to constant
changes.
As a matter of fact, European Member States adopted different strategies to tackle the problem. Some
countries passed specific legislation on mobbing/bullying. Some others preferred to refer to the existing
legislation, in some cases widening their scope, in some others just applying it to situations which only
in their core characteristics could remind of mobbing/bullying.
Other countries adopted non-legislative measures such as code of practices or code of conduct.

As the Dublin Foundation states in its “Preventing violence and harassment in the workplace”
document these different approaches might depend on a different perception of the problem and on a
different strategy on how to successfully deal with it.
As already stressed, mobbing is really linked to cultural and to social behaviours which in some
countries can be considered perfectly acceptable while in some others are not tolerated, at all. Thus,
also the tools to face the problem may change a lot according to the country‟s culture and to the forms
of mobbing which have particular relevance in that Member State.
For all these reasons, the approach and the instrument adopted by the EU acquire an importance as they
open the way to a unique idea of mobbing and to how it can be tackled at the European level.

Among the countries which adopted a new specific legislation to face mobbing/bullying there are
France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and The Netherlands.

In France and Belgium two new laws were introduced in 2002 specifically tailored to address moral
harassment (mobbing/bullying). They both put emphasis on the responsibility of the employer in the
adoption of preventive measures to face mobbing/bullying and they both offers a quite wide protection
to the victims as well as instruments to act against their perpetrators.

In France the Supreme Court has given its contribution to face mobbing/bullying with two key
decisions establishing the full responsibility of the employer for the behaviour of his or her
subordinates. Sanctions are contemplated by both the Labour and the Penal Code.

In Denmark and Finland the new rules have been introduced, too.
An agreement has been signed in 2001 by the Danish Working Environment Authority, the DA
Employers‟ Confederation and LO-Trade Union Confederation which states that local agreement
within firms have to be adopted to tackle mobbing/bullying.
Guidelines have been adopted by the Government as well as new paragraph of the Ministry of
Employment Labour regulations which now specifically affirms that “the work does not imply any risk
of physical or mental health deterioration due to bullying/harassment including sexual harassment”.

In Finland, a new Occupational Safety and Health Act was approved by the Parliament in 2002. This
deals with physical and psychological violence, including threats of violence, harassment, sexual
harassment and bullying. The Act particularly stresses the importance of co-operation between
employers and employees in dealing with mobbing/bullying.




                                                                                                      12
Other countries, such as Ireland, UK, Germany and Spain decided that there was no need for new rules
but mobbing could be handled through the existing legislation.
These Member States reckoned that new laws were not immediately necessary. Thus, they adopted
codes of practice, procedures and guidelines (Ireland); Court decisions (Spain and Germany) and
collective agreements, both for the private and the public sector (Germany).

Luxembourg has opted for non-legislative measures while Italy, Portugal, and Austria are working to
find their own way to deal with mobbing/bullying according to their legislative systems, their
awareness of the problem itself and their cultural and social backgrounds.


5. Non-EU Countries

Norway

 In Norway, where mobbing/bullying has arisen in the late „80s as an urgent problem to tackle because
it caused an high rate of suicides a law has been adopted in 1994. It generically affirms that workers
shouldn‟t be subjected to unwanted behaviours. This wideness is the result of a fully aware choice not
to name particular behaviours to avoid that other negative acts not explicitly mentioned could not be
prosecuted.

Before 1994 the Supreme Court had assured protection to victims of mobbing/bullying through
decisions which recognised the responsibility of employers and collegues for the harassment the
mobbed experienced.

Switzerland

In Switzerland no specific law to address mobbing has been adopted. Nevertheless, the existing
legislation guarantees the protection of employees against mobbing/bullying.




                                                                                                    13
6. Acceding and Candidate Countries

As already stressed, mobbing is deeply linked to cultural and social behaviours. It happens more in
some economic sectors and less in others. It is often due to economic structures and contingencies and
it is the result of individual, situational, organisational and societal factors.
For all the abovementioned reasons the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and
Working Conditions carried out a survey on working conditions in 13 candidate countries: Bulgaria,
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia,
Slovenia and Turkey.

The outcomes of these studies will be used to assess the incidence of mobbing in Candidate countries.

The major findings of the study are:

      a higher proportion of workers employed in agriculture;
      a lower proportion in the services sector;
      a higher proportion of self-employed workers ;
      a lower proportion of workers in the higher skilled job categories;
      a lower incidence of gender segregation;
      a higher proportion of women working;
      a lower client-oriented strategy;
      a lower decentralisation and a higher hierarchy in the work organisation;
      a lower job control and a higher job demands;
      a higher solidarity and support among colleagues;
      longer working hours.

The research reveals important structural differences between candidate and EU countries. Many of
them have already been identified as significant factors for mobbing.

Nevertheless, the study on Working conditions in candidate countries and the European Union carried
out by the Dublin Foundation shows roughly similar proportions between the EU and the acceding and
candidate countries for mobbing/bullying.




                                                                                                    14
                                                                                      5

Men experience intimidation slightly more often than women. Those aged under 40 suffer more than
older age groups. Apprentices and trainees (19%) are more exposed to intimidation than other
employee groups (8%). Taken as a whole, they are more exposed than the self-employed with
employees (7%) and without employees (4%).
Workers in hotels and restaurants (12%), public administration (11%), transport (10%) and mining
(9%) are more likely to experience intimidation, while the financial intermediation sector are less
subjected to intimidation (2%). There are significant differences between countries, ranging from 11%
in Lithuania and 10% in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to 4% in Cyprus and 3% in Hungary. Some
9% of craft workers and service and sales workers and 8% of unskilled workers report suffering
intimidation in the workplace during the year preceding the survey .




5
 Paoli, P and Parent-Thirion, A, Working conditions in the acceding and candidate countries, European Foundation for the
Improvement of Living and Working Conditions 2003

                                                                                                                     15
                                                                                           6




6
 Paoli, P and Parent-Thirion, A, Working conditions in the acceding and candidate countries, European Foundation for the
Improvement of Living and Working Conditions 2003

                                                                                                                     16
7. Conclusion

Mobbing is a widespread problem throughout the EU with apparently a higher incidence in Northern
European countries such as Finland, the Netherlands and UK and a lower impact in the Mediterranean
countries. As already stressed these figures might be biased by different degrees of awareness about
the issue. As a matter of fact, for many years in the Southern European countries forms of
psychological violence where not identified as an abuse.

Moreover, its prevalence can vary according to the applied measurement strategy, occupation or sector,
as well as country. If there is a specific definition in which the experience is referred to a fixed period
of time, less than 5% of the population were found to be mobbed. On the contrary, when definitions are
wider, all kinds of occasional harassment or conflicts on the workplace are included. Thus, figures are
much higher.

Even if, it seems without doubt that this phenomenon is on the increase, in the majority of EU Member
States there is still a lack of reporting incidences, a lack of information and of documentation,
especially at the enterprise level.

Both at the EU and National level there isn‟t a common view on how to tackle the problem.

There is an agreement on a the need of an internationally accepted definition and of raising awareness
on mobbing.

A proposal to draft common Guidelines has been done by the European Parliament as well as the call
for an involvement of groups such as trade unions and self-help associations to play an important role
in raising awareness and designing programmes to prevent mobbing.

There is also the need for drafting Codes of conduct or procedure to establish a fruitful co-operation
between employers and employees in dealing with it.

Another very important tool is the analysis and comparison of different experiences in different
countries as well as stimulating EU initiatives and interventions.

Although some of these things have already been implemented at least at the National level there is still
a big gap which the Dublin Foundation has identified in the lack of an evaluation of these
recommendations, their implementation and impact.

The evaluation and monitoring activities on the effectiveness of different interventions, especially the
ones in the private sector, have to be improved. In this field, a major role can be played by social parts
and in particular trade unions.


At the same time, there is a urgent need for information exchange as each country is adopting
initiatives to tackle the problem at different levels and from different viewpoints. Thus, increasing the
complexity of the problem and the difficulty in finding a unique way to deal with it.




                                                                                                        17
It has been already highlighted that socio-cultural differences make a big difference in how mobbing
occurs and how it can be addressed properly. As a consequence it is important to make at least an
attempt to smooth already existing differences and try to avoid the rise of new ones.

To do so, the EU needs to play a key role. The activities of EU bodies as well as their attempts to tackle
these problems have stimulated further interest. Now the EU has to adhere with the plan and promote
an holistic approach, integrating individual, situational, organisational and societal or socio-economic
factors to face mobbing. With this aim in mind, a multidisciplinary cooperation between the different
players (employers, trade unions, occupational health institutes and inspection agencies) is vital to
effectively address these problems.
First of all, it has to launch a common definition of mobbing. It has to adopt new legislative measures
and non-legislative initiatives. It has to encourage co-operation among stakeholders and among all the
European Member States and the Acceding and Candidate countries. It has to make an effort to
promote the exchange of information among different economic sectors and countries. It has to suggest
basic rules as well as a common sets of indicators across the EU.

Finally, it has to develop models and approaches which can minimise the socio-economic differences
and maximise the effectiveness of methods which are based on mobbing‟s main common features.

All these initiatives are very important to guarantee workers of all Member States the same rights and
protection.

At the same time the EU has to take the lead in assuring that women will enjoy the same rights and the
same working conditions of men.




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                                           BIBLIOGRAPHY


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2. Ege, H., I numeri del Mobbing. La prima ricera italiana, Pitagora Editrice, Bologna, 1998.
3. European Commission, Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work,
„Opinion on Violence at the Workplace‟, Opinion adopted on 29 November 2001, Brussels,
2001.
4. European Commission, Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the
European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the regions. Report on equality
between women and men , adopted on 19 February 2004, Brussels 2004
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European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Annual Report on Equal
Opportunities for Women and Men in the European Union 2002, adopted on 5 March 2003, Brussels
2003
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health and safety at work 2002–2006, adopted on 11 March 2002, Brussels 2002
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occupation, adopted on 27 November 2000, Brussels, 2000. Council Directive 2000/78/EC
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