Georgian employers discuss how to address violence and harassment at workplace

On the initiative of the Georgian Employers’ Association (GEA) the International Labour Organization (ILO) conducted a two-day training on ‘’Addressing Violence and Harassment through Workplace Practices’’, on 4 and 5 May, in Borjomi, Georgia.

News | 06 May 2023

The first half of the training, delivered by Valentina Beghini, Legal Specialist, Violence, Harassment, and Non-discrimination, ILO GEDI Geneva, and Miranda Fajerman, International Labour Standards Specialist, ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, focused on the key elements of ILO Convention No. 190 and Recommendation No. 206. Both speakers stressed the importance of having comprehensive company level policies on gender equality and non-discrimination to address the impact of violence and harassment in the world of work.

In addition to introducing the normative framework, the training concentrated on the “how-to”s of developing a company policy to address violence and harassment as well as establishing an effective complaints mechanism. Two sessions were dedicated to the aforementioned areas, which were based on the ILO employers' guide on violence and harassment and conducted by  Jae-Hee Chang, Sr. Programme and Operations Officer, ILO ACT/EMP Geneva,  Maria Jose Chamorro, Formalization and Gender Equality Specialist, ILO DWT/CO Budapest, and Ozge Berber Agtas, Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination Specialist, ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Cătălin Ţacu, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, technically developed the training and oversaw the training activity.

Maka Bochorishvili, Lead of the ESG Department, TBC Bank Georgia, and Emrah Ozbay, Director of Internal Audit, Risk Management and Sustainability, Boyner Grup Turkey, provided their companies’ experience and discussed practical solutions for addressing violence and harassment through company policies.

According to Özge Berber Agtaş, “violence and harassment is a major problem remaining pervasive across the sectors. It has serious consequences for all workers, their families and communities, as well as for enterprises’ image and productivity and constitutes a serious threat to equal opportunities and treatment. C190 is a ground-breaking international standard providing an integrated and comprehensive approach to prevent and address violence and harassment, including gender-based violence, in the world of work.”  

“The training with Georgian Employers' Association (GEA) and its members demonstrated that Georgian employers are committed to promoting the well-being and productivity of their workforce by fostering a workplace culture that values diversity, promotes respect, encourages open communication and that is harassment-free. The ILO is committed to support the GEA and its members create safer and more respectful workplaces for everyone,” said Jae-Hee Chang,

20 members of GEA attended the training. They were human resources managers and staff development trainers of medium to large Georgian enterprises. They wanted to better understand how ratification of C190 would impact Georgian legislation and business operations and црфе opportunities an independent body at the company level to address violence and harassment will bring for the company. They also stressed the need for violence and harassment at work to be addressed by both private and public sectors and pointed to the lack of trained staff and expertise to deal with the issue.

“This training was particularly important as it increased awareness of employers and their representatives about the practical implementation of Convention No. 190. The participants realized that the prevention of violence and harassment in the workplace is a combination of peace, security, stability, health and other issues. Accordingly, this course increased the technical knowledge and ability of the GEA members to see their role in creating and promoting a safe workplace free from violence and harassment. We would like to thank the ILO for providing technical assistance to this important event” said Elene Makharashvili, Acting CEO of GEA.

Training on ‘’Addressing Violence and Harassment through Workplace Practices’’ for the Members of GEA had been organized in the framework of the project “Inclusive Labour Market for Job Creation in Georgia” financed by the Government of Denmark.