The parliamentary fraction of Morena (party with majority in Congress) recently filed an initiative to reform the Federal Labor Law (FLL); this modification aims to set forth an obligation for employers to implement an action protocol to prevent gender-based discrimination and to manage violence and sexual harassment cases.
Although this type of conducts are considered in the FLL as a cause for rescission both for the employer and for the employee, with penalties for employers who incur, tolerate or allow them, around $18K pesos (US $1K) to $365K pesos (US $20K) approx., the reform aims to guarantee the existence of a mechanism to effectively protect the worker’s right to decent treatment and equality.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (MLSW) currently has a model attention protocol for workplace violence in order to promote the implementation by Mexican companies of policies and actions to detect and prevent this type of situations.
The MLSW proposes the creation of a commission incorporated by representatives of the company and the employees, with the main purposes of:
· Implementing the aforementioned protocol;
· Receiving, managing and solving complaints filed by employees related to workplace violence; and,
· Imposing the corresponding penalties to the employees in the work environment, which shall be set forth in the Internal Workplace Regulations effective for the company.
In order for the protocol to be an effective mechanism to counter these types of conducts within the workplace, it is recommended that such protocol sets forth, at least the following:
· Diagnostic processes allowing to determine the risk level of the company to determine the most appropriate preventive measures.
· Awareness and training actions promoting violence free workplaces, allowing workers to clearly identify if they are victims of such types of conducts, the instances to which they can resort and the steps to file a complaint.
· Mechanisms available for the workers to report these type of incidents.
· Processes to investigate the reported incidents.
· Guidelines to determine the penalties applicable to the workers incurring in such types of conducts.
Considering the approval of such reform is imminent and in order to guarantee compliance to it at the date of its publication and effectiveness, it is convenient that companies initiate the implementation of their compliance systems to prevent any penalty that may arise from an inspection visit of the MLSW.
It is worth mentioning that these systems do not only serve a compliance purpose, since them also bright forth multiple benefits for companies regarding prevention of operative, labor and legal risks.
It is known that denigrating practices in the workplace are one of the common causes of absenteeism, staff turnover and drop in performance. These situations have negative economic impact in companies, both in their costs and in their productivity.
The implementation of an effective compliance system allows ensuring a respectful behavior within the organization, creating a healthy workplace environment which helps to reduce such incidents and supports the capabilities of the human capital, enabling companies to meet their commercial and financial goals.
These systems also contribute to reduce the risks of exposure of companies to such claims on behalf of their workers, and also the contingencies and liabilities that may derive from them, whether under labor, civil or criminal law.