A harassment complaint can also be made to the employer by an employee who is not a victim of harassment but has witnessed harassing behaviour and wants to take action to protect the victim. For example, an employee who has heard how the employer puts down his or her disabled employees can complain. A complainant who does not have a disability is not the victim of discrimination here, but the victims are the disabled persons who have been verbally belittled.
If an employer becomes aware of harassment in the collective, they must take the necessary measures to stop the harassment (subsection 3 (3); clause 12 1) of the Equal Treatment Act).
A person who is not a direct victim of harassment can make a complaint not only to the employer but also to the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner. The Commissioner will always ask for the victim’s consent to settle the complaint. The Commissioner will not start proceedings if the victim of harassment does not want them to. As a rule, evidence is also needed to establish the facts. In ‘their word against mine’ cases, it’s not possible for the Commissioner to take a position.
The Commissioner can also be contacted by the employer. The Commissioner advises employers on how best to investigate and deal with harassment cases.
A coworker cannot generally go to court or to the labour dispute committee to defend the interests of another person. However, when resolving a dispute concerning discrimination, the representative may also be a person who has a legitimate interest in verifying adherence to the requirements for equal treatment (subsection 14 (21) of the Individual Labour Dispute Resolution Act).
If the situation cannot be resolved, you can turn to the Equality Commissioner, the Labour Inspectorate or the police. If sexual harassment is confirmed, the victim has the right to receive separate damages for discrimination.
This explanation does not constitute legal aid in a specific case. Therefore, if you feel that you have been treated unequally, but you did not find a solution to your problem in this article, or if you have a question, please contact the Equality Commissioner by e-mail at email@example.com or telephone +372 626 9059. The anonymity of the person is guaranteed when contacting the Commissioner.