The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has adopted a new convention and recommendation with the aim of combating violence and harassment in the workplace.
The Violence and Harassment Convention 2019 and Violence and Harassment Recommendation 2019, were adopted by delegates on the final day of the Centenary International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva.
For the Convention, 439 votes were cast in favour, seven against, with 30 abstentions. The Recommendation was passed with 397 votes in favour, 12 votes against, and 44 abstentions.
Notably, working on the convention started before the widespread protests brought against sexual harassment in 2017.
An unprecedented number of women have come forward to share stories of workplace sexual harassment since the #MeToo movement gained momentum in late 2017.
Hence, the new convention provides a broad definition of what violence and harassment in work means, in addition to where it can take place, assuring that everyone in the workplace has the right to be free from violence and harassment.
The convention will come into force 12 months after two member states have ratified it. The recommendation, which is not legally binding, provides guidelines on how the convention could be applied.
This is the first new convention agreed by the International Labour Conference since 2011 when the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No 189) was adopted. Conventions are legally binding international instruments, while recommendations provide advice and guidance.