United States: Labor and Human Rights Groups Call for International Convention on Workplace Violence
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 9:10 PM

Thirty-one labor and advocacy groups have called on the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) to support a strong and coherent global standard on gender-based violence in the workplace. The groups, including the Advocates for Human Rights, point out that as many as 50% of women worldwide experience some form of violence or sexual harassment at work. Such violence has “profoundly negative effects on victims’ health and well-being, and imposes high costs on employers and society at large.” This is includes an estimated $5.8 billion each year in health care costs and lost worker productivity.

According to the Advocates and partner organizations, the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) proposed standard on “violence against women and men in the world of work” will promote consistency and predictability for international employers. It will also give employers clear guidance on how to address and prevent a “full range of coercive and damaging behaviors” in the workplace, as well as physical and sexual assaults.

The Governing Body of the ILO will soon meet and decide whether to consider a convention against workplace violence at a future International Labor Conference. Support from the U.S. international business community is critical to ensuring a comprehensive international standard to protect women from violence at work is ultimately approved and implemented.

Compiled from: The Advocates for Human Rights, AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, et al., Letter in Support of Standard Setting Item on Gender-Based Violence in the Workplace (2014); International Labour Office, Governing Body, 322nd Session, Geneva, 30 October–13 November 2014, Agenda of the International Labour Conference, International Labour Organization (September 19, 2014).