New Convention: ILO Adopts Treaty to Protect People from Violence and Harassment at Work
Friday, August 2, 2019 2:55 PM

The Violence and Harassment Convention (C190), adopted on July 2019 by the International Labour Organization (ILO), defines “violence and harassment” and “gender-based violence and harassment,” stipulates who the convention seeks to protect, and outlines the workplaces in which people are protected.  The Convention protects workers in every sector – private, public, formal, informal, urban, and rural – and in every contractual status, including those whose employment was terminated and jobseekers. 

Article 4 of the Convention obligates that Members create an “inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach” to prevent and eliminate violence and harassment at the work, including by:

  • Prohibiting in law violence and harassment
  • Ensuring that relevant policies address violence and harassment
  • Adopting a comprehensive strategy in order to implement measures to prevent and combat violence and harassment
  • Establishing or strengthening enforcement and monitoring mechanisms
  • Ensuring access to remedies and support for victims
  • Providing for sanctions
  • Developing tools, guidance, education and training, and raising awareness, in accessible formats as appropriate
  • Ensuring effective means of inspection and investigation of cases of violence and harassment

Marie Clarke-Walker, member of the ILO governing body and worker spokesperson, talks about how negotiators were able to use the #MeToo movement as evidence that “these things [gender-based violence and harassment] are … happening,” as “it’s all over the media.”   According to Clarke-Walker, the Violence and Harassment Convention is the first binding ILO convention that defines and includes gender-based violence and harassment. 


Compiled from: Violence and Harassment Convention, June 21, 2019, U.N.I.L.O No. 190.; Stewart, Philippa H., Interview: Protecting All Workers, Everywhere, Human Rights Watch (August 1, 2019).