On 11 December 2022, the Law of Ukraine ''On Changes to Certain Legislation on Prevention of and Fighting against Mobbing (Bullying)'' (the ''Law'') that aims to ensure legal protection of employees from systematic bullying at work became effective. In particular, the Law encompasses a number of provisions which provide the definition of mobbing, its forms and measures of protection of rights of employees who suffered from workplace mobbing.
What is mobbing?
The Law defines mobbing as systematic (repeated) continuous intentional acts or omissions of an employer, certain employees or group of employees of a labour collective, which aim at humiliating the honor and dignity of an employee, his/her business reputation, including for the purpose of acquiring, changing or terminating his/her labour rights and obligations, manifested in the form of psychological and/or economic pressure, in particular with the use of electronic communications, creating a stressful situation for an employee, a hostile, offensive atmosphere, including the one that makes him/her underestimate professional suitability.
Which are the forms of mobbing?
The law envisaged an exhaustive list of forms of mobbing, which are as follows:
- creating a tense, hostile, offensive atmosphere in relation to an employee (threats, mockery, slander, etc.)
- unjustified negative separation of an employee from the team or his/her isolation (non-invitation to meetings and conferences in which the employee is entitled to participate, transfer to the unsuitable for this type of work workplace, etc.)
- inequality of opportunities for education and career growth
- unequal pay for work of equal value, which is performed by employees of the same qualification
- unjustified deprivation of part of the employee's payments (premiums, bonuses and other incentives)
- unjustified uneven distribution of workload and tasks by an employer between employees with the same qualifications and labour productivity who perform work of equal value
What are the means of legal protection of an employee?
The Law provides several ways of possible response to mobbing, in particular, lodging a complaint with the State Labour Service of Ukraine, and/or applying to a court.
An employee may also terminate his/her employment within the period defined by the employee if an employer bullied the employee or failed to take measures to stop workplace mobbing, which is evidenced by a binding court judgment.
An employer, in its turn, may dismiss an employee at its own initiative if he/she mobbed other employees if such fact is evidenced by a binding court judgment.
Compensation for mobbing
An employee who experienced mobbing is entitled to a severance payment upon his/her termination of employment in the amount not less than 3 average salaries.
In addition, an individual may recover (i) a compensation for medical treatment if mobbing caused health damages, and (ii) moral damages caused by mobbing.