What is harassment?

Psychological harassment

Psychological harassment or mobbing is an unethical or destructive way of reacting to a situation or behaving towards a person.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment refers to all comments or actions of a sexual nature or other behavior related to a person’s gender that are unwanted by the person to whom they are directed, and which adversely affect their well-being.

Discrimination

Discrimination is defined by unfair actions on account of origin, sex, gender identity, religious beliefs or other differences like disabilities, etc.

Legal basis

EPFL’s procedures for resolving cases of psychological and sexual harassment are based on the following legal documents:

The prohibition of discrimination is enshrined in the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation (Art. 8). The Swiss labor law and its ordinance (Olt 3, Art. 2 & 26) require an employer to protect the legal status of workers and to take all necessary measures to protect their physical and mental health.

The Swiss Criminal Code is applicable to anyone who commits a crime or misdemeanor in Switzerland. Book 1 of the Swiss Civil Code specifies the rights of natural and legal persons in Switzerland.

The Swiss Federal Act on Gender Equality (GEA) stresses that discrimination is strictly prohibited (Art. 3) and describes sexual harassment not only as an affront to human dignity, but also as discriminatory behavior (Art. 4). It sets forth the rights of persons who are subjected to or are at risk of being subjected to harassment under the terms of Articles 3 and 4. The Federal Council’s Ordinance on the Conciliation Commission under the GEA specifies the role of the Commission.