Psychological harassment

Does the employee's exemplary career mitigate his fault?

Publié le 03 avril 2024 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Mr. R., an employer, receives written testimony from 5 of his employees who tell him about the inappropriate and harassing behavior of the marketing assistant. The hygiene committee confirms this testimony. As part of its obligation to ensure the safety of its employees, the employer triggers an internal investigation that leads to the dismissal for serious misconduct of this marketing assistant. Should it have taken into account the absence of a disciplinary background and the excellent previous appraisals of the employee?

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Image 1Crédits: New Africa - replies:

The employer has an obligation to ensure the safety at work of its employees. When it is made aware of facts that may constitute psychological harassment, it must initiate an internal investigation and ensure that the acts cease.

Grave misconduct is the misconduct that prevents the employee from remaining in the company. It can exist even in the absence of prior warnings. Criticism, mockery, verbal and physical violence, and destabilization of industrial relations can cause suffering at work and justify dismissal for gross misconduct.

In a similar case, the employee contests her dismissal by stating that her previous conduct was free from any reproach. She noted that for the past 22 years, she had been highly regarded by her hierarchy and colleagues until this episode. However, the Court of Cassation did not accept this argument. She considers that the working atmosphere she imposes on her colleagues is a source of suffering at work and constitutes serious misconduct which justifies her dismissal.

The exemplary behavior of an employee for 22 years does not mitigate misconduct (criticism, mockery, verbal abuse...) as long as it affects the working conditions of other employees.