Workplace harassment and inappropriate treatment

Harassment and inappropriate treatment in the workplace are contrary to the norms of good behavior towards others. They encompass criticizing and complicating others' work performance, social isolation, and sexual harassment and jibes. In everyday language, we call this workplace bullying.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act prohibits inappropriate treatment and harassment at work. It imposes obligations on employers and employees. According to the act, if harassment or other inappropriate treatment of an employee occurs at work and causes hazards or risks to the employee's health, the employer must take measures to remedy this situation.

Preventive action

Harassment and inappropriate treatment cases must be dealt with primarily in the workplace.

In this, the key factors are that there is uninhibited interaction at the workplace and professional management. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers and employees must work together to maintain and improve occupational safety in the workplace.

If a workplace's own capacity is insufficient, OSH professionals such as occupational health care providers can provide the necessary support.

OSH inspectors monitor compliance with rules

OSH inspectors at the OSH Divisions oversee compliance with rules concerning harassment and other forms of inappropriate behavior. They draw up reports on their workplace inspections. When needed the OSH Division can make a binding decision to the employer.

There are guidelines for inspectors on inspecting harassment and inappropriate treatment. The guidelines describe the role of the inspector, what kind of obligations can be given and the follow-up of these obligations.

Further information

Hannele Jurvelius, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Työ- ja tasa-arvo-osasto / TTO, Valvonta- ja ohjausyksikkö / VY 0295163486