Harassment at work: risk assessment and mitigation
By Alessandra Marcondes D’Elia and Pedro Ackel, WFaria Advogados
In the past few years, in Brazil, companies of the most varied sizes and segments have suffered severe financial and reputational losses due to judicial decisions that have granted huge damage compensation arising from moral and sexual harassment.
Recently, Law No. 13,467 of 2017 limited the value of compensation for moral damages to up to 50 times the value of the harassed employee’s salary, depending on the severity of the damage. In the case of public civil actions filed to repair collective damages, this amount can be much higher, in values that are close to or even exceed BRL 1,000,000.00 (one million Brazilian Reais).
Harassment at work represents a risk factor and has a large impact on business reality. A simple remediation of the episodes that occur is insuffcient to contain their consequences. This is because, in addition to harming harassed workers’ health, the harassment episodes affect the whole work environment, making it disheartening, uninspiring to all workers and unsuitable for business development. The even greater risk is the damage it may cause to the company’s image before its clients.
In order to mitigate such losses and reputational damage, it is imperative that companies seek preventive solutions, such as the implementation of compliance programmes focused on labour issues.
Therefore, we highly recommend that companies in Brazil draft and implement an effective labour compliance programme that will ensure a safer and healthier work environment, with more satisfied and committed employees, enhancing quality, productivity and the success of the enterprise. In this way, companies are likely to spend less on compensation, court costs and attorney fees. Most of all, it will protect the company brand image and reputation, ensuring the maintenance and the development of its business.
Alessandra Marcondes D’EliaWFaria Advogados, São Paulo, Brazil
T: +55 11 3018 7878
WFaria Advogados is a law firm specialising in corporate law, headquartered in São Paulo, with operations in the main states of Brazil, which focuses mainly on legal assistance to major companies in the domestic and international markets from different economic sectors.
Alessandra Marcondes D’Elia is a lawyer at WFaria Advogados and a specialist in Labour Law. Alessandra holds a law degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP) and a postgraduate degree in Material and Procedural Labour Law from the same institution.
Pedro AckelWFaria Advogados, São Paulo, Brazil
T: +55 11 3018 7878
Pedro Ackel is the Coordinator of the Human Capital section at WFaria Advogados, which comprises Advisory and Litigation in Labour and Payroll Tax Law. He received his degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo and is a Legal Director of the Brazilian Association of BPO Companies.
Published: Autumn 2018 l Photo: © Andrey Popov - stock.adobe.com