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As of today, April 17th 2024, the obligation for companies to implement the provisions of the Government Decision no. 970/2023 approving the Methodology on preventing and combating harassment based on gender and moral harassment at work (“Decision 970/2023“), which entered into force at the end of 2023, has becomes effective. This law imposes new obligations on all companies to prevent and combat harassment at work and sexual harassment, and to implement in their internal regulations the provisions of two previous laws, namely Government Ordinance no. 137/2000 on the prevention and punishment of all forms of discrimination and Law no. 202/2002 on equal opportunities and treatment between women and men.

Among the most important obligations established by Decision 970/2023 are:

  1. the obligation to implement internal procedures regarding promotion, including with respect to decision-making roles (e.g., member of the board of directors or supervisory board),
  2. the obligation to organize annual training courses for employees regarding behaviors that may constitute harassment based on sex criteria or moral harassment, how the victims should respond, reporting procedures, etc.,
  3. the obligation to designate an individual or a committee responsible for receiving and addressing reports regarding potential cases of harassment,
  4. the obligation to define the role and specific responsibilities of both the company and its employees and the designated person/committee in relation to its policy for the prevention and combating of harassment cases,
  5. the obligation to draft reports, studies, and analyses on the application of the principle of equal opportunities and treatment between women and men in the specific field of activity,
  6. the obligation to establish a register where complaints and reports will be recorded,
  7. the obligation to incorporate provisions of Government Ordinance no. 137/2000 on the prevention and sanctioning of all forms of discrimination, republished with subsequent amendments and additions, and Law no. 202/2002 on equality of opportunities and treatment between women and men into the company’s internal regulations.

Decision 970/2023 also approved a guide on preventing and combating moral and harassment based on sex criteria, which can serve as a model for the internal procedures to be implemented by each company.

The deadline for implementing the provisions of Decision 970/2023, coincides, deliberately or not, with the period in which Romania ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention no. 190/2019, by Law no. 69/2024.

In broad terms, this Convention represents a general framework for the protection of employees, widely defined to include interns, apprentices, volunteers, job seekers, against violence and harassment in the workplace, which can also be considered during delegations, travel and professional events, etc. The main and general purpose of this Convention is to establish the general principles that must be implemented in national legislation to promote safe working environments by enhancing the applicable legal framework in this field.