a year ago I broke out the case of Harvey Weinstein, the producer of american cinema accused of sexual harassment, assault and rape. Soon, other women came out of their tower of silence to denounce these practices. The movement #MeToo [me too] was launched.
Until then, the prud’hommes considered few cases of sexual harassment. As for those who escaped the silence, they seemed to pose a problem to the judges. “It’s already happened that a counselor prud homal claims that the fact that a superior calls a subordinate ‘my darling’ or ‘my choupette’ there was nothing unusual or shocking,” lamented a year ago, the lawyer Frédéric Chhum.
INVESTIGATION >> sexual harassment in The workplace, a taboo for the prud’hommes
Difficult to measure today the release of the word of the women in the world of work in relation to the number of cases brought before the tribunals. The decrease in the number of cases brought before this court does not mean that the percentage of the harassment has not increased.
“welcome to the prud’hommes has changed to”
For Marilyn Baldeck, general delegate of the AVFT (Association against violence towards women at work), which was awarded, in 1992, the inclusion of the offence of sexual harassment in the criminal code, the fight continues: “The gripes of victims has doubled between 2015 (when bursts the case Baupin, deputy ecologist alleged to have harassed staff, editor’s note) and 2017. The scandal Weinstein has coincided with a saturation of the activity. Human resources are no longer enough to cope. 222 women have asked in the past year to the association to support legal”.
a Specialist in discrimination at the workplace, the attorney for Maude Beckers welcomes victories symbolic. This year, she did condemn The Post by the prud’hommes to pay 127 000 euro to the victim and to show the judgment in all its entities. Or, in front of the correctional court, an employer for behaviour exhibitionists to an employee in a situation of disability.
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“To the prud’hommes, the home has changed, she points out. Listening is there, it is less deleterious than at a time and we no longer hear these reflections of the other party, or from advisors: ‘it’s going, there’s worse…’ or ‘this is dragging a bit heavy’. When I show that the harassment results in the feeling of power and domination over the victim, I don’t spend more for a feminist hysterical!”
“I had a click”
Some judges labor processes have become aware that their own reactions were not always appropriate. One of them testifies: “I had a click in speaking with a counselor who told me that she, too, had experienced an abnormal situation at work. She had nothing left to look, there was never more talk about it. I realized that my little giggling during the deliberation, or even sometimes in front of a person in suffering, were cowardly defenses, which were masking my embarrassment in front of the text or testimonials very cash told to the bar.”
The appreciation of the business changes. “When in December 2017, I have seen an issue very heavy, with more than 300 pieces on the side of a young woman victim of sexual and moral harassment which had made several stays in a psychiatric hospital, and the same number of pieces on the side of the defence, which sought to demonstrate the manipulation and the madness of the alleged victim, I organized a preparatory meeting,” said a president of the chamber. I don’t know if I would have acted the same prior to the case of Weinstein. Now, you can’t do otherwise. For this case, it was necessary that the hearing is impeccable. Nothing was left to chance, nor the parity men/women in the training that day, nor the questions, carefully worded”.
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“tongues loosen, confirms Marie-Aimée Peyron, president of Paris. Large companies are increasingly aware of the harassment, they are conducting ‘internal investigation objective’ and adopt procedures of behavior and alert.” Is this enough ? It is still too early to tell. According to Maude Beckers, progress remains to be made: “we need to train all stakeholders, advisors, labor processes, in particular, that we can’t confuse seduction and harassment. It is also necessary to know the rules of the law and understand that there is prejudice even if there had been no rape. Many of the councils of prud’hommes are not familiar yet totally the elements of law. It is absolutely necessary that they form”. The lawyer also recommends legislative changes, as part of a proof of records illegal. The initiative is supported by the human rights defender.It deplores the fact, finally, the very too low compensation. The floor (6 months salary, since the act El Khomri) too often, office ceiling. 12 or 24 months of salary would require companies to take care of the problem upstream. The criminal, the punishment of the crime of harassment can be up to two years in prison, 30 000 euro fine and possible damages, but the victims are still reluctant to expose themselves as well.Surprisingly, “#MeToo has influenced the bâtonnat, says the president of the bar of Paris. Because the professions of justice are far from being themselves copies”. To attempt to remedy these practices, “that can be found in companies as well as in some law firms”, commission, “harassment” has been put in place within the bar. The five dossiers are under investigation. “If a woman president does not participate in the liberation of the word and not put actions in place to combat harassment, who will ?” smiled Marie-Aimée Peyron.