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Clarifications have been made to the scheme of protection against dismissal and against any adverse measure applicable in case of workplace violence and harassment.
An Act of 07.04.2023, which will come into force on 01.06.2023, amends certain provisions of the Act of 4 August 1996 (on the well-being of workers in the performance of their work) in this respect.
Here is a brief overview.
Workers who, because of acts of violence or bullying in the workplace not linked to a discrimination criterion (age, current or future health status, sex, maternity, paternity, etc.), take the following steps are protected against dismissal and against any adverse measure:
The intervening parties or the worker himself/herself, depending on the situation, inform the employer that the worker is protected (see "Final remarks").
Important note! The protection does not apply in the event of abuse of the procedures.
In the course of the protection period, the employer may not:
The burden of proof of the reasons and justifications lies with the employer:
Important note! The sanctions in case of non-compliance with the protection remain unchanged (payment of an indemnity to the protected worker, especially if he/she is not reinstated in the company and the court has ruled that the dismissal or the measure taken by the employer is contrary). However, certain rules on the accumulation of indemnities are clarified.
The protection provided by the Act of 4 August 1996 (described above) does not apply to workers who take steps (request for formal psychosocial intervention, complaint, proceedings or testimony) for acts of violence or bullying in the workplace linked to a discrimination criterion (age, current or future health status, sex, maternity, paternity, etc.) or sexual harassment at work.
These workers benefit from the protection against adverse measures provided by the anti-discrimination Acts.
Important note! The employer is informed that the worker is protected (regardless of the legal basis for protection):
Do you need to update your employment regulations as a result of the clarification of the protection scheme applicable in case of workplace violence and harassment? Please contact our Legal Partners via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Act of 07.04.2023 amending the Act of 10 May 2007 combating discrimination between women and men, Act of 30 July 1981 criminalising certain acts inspired by racism or xenophobia, Act of 10 May 2007 combating certain forms of discrimination, and Act of 4 August 1996 on the well-being of workers in the performance of their work, as regards protection against adverse measures, Belgian Official Gazette 15.05.2023.
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