The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency launches #betriebsklimaschutz online portal 2021.07.27

Compilation of 25 examples of best practice against sexual harassment at the workplace

Whether through special complaints departments, specific company-wide agreements or targeted training: A growing number of companies are taking active measures to protect their employees from sexual harassment in the workplace. The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency supports private and public employers on this path – and, in the context of the same-titled information campaign, today puts up 25 exemplary measures against sexual harassment on its new online portal at www.betriebsklimaschutz.de.

“Sexual harassment is forbidden – and it is the responsibility of the companies to protect their employees. We can show you how to go about this – and explicitly encourage others to follow suit. Our compilation illustrates how to implement prevention and intervention measures within various industries and sizes of company,” stated Bernhard Franke, acting head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency on Tuesday in Berlin, to mark the portal’s official launch.

From 120 measures that were identified, over a period from September 2020 to  March 2021 a team of experts selected 25 projects from across Germany to analyse in greater detail on behalf of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency. The selected companies include Deutsche Bahn AG, whose ombuds office performs a major role in preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, Volkswagen AG, whichhas created a milestone with its industrial agreement on “Working in partnership at work”, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe BVG, which introduced an internal  Working Group for “Case assistance” as well as the City of Munich with its central complaints body for sexual harassment and domestic violence.

“All these examples serve as excellent models for others. Our portal illustrates in concrete terms how other companies can utilise these measures for their working environment,” continued Franke. “We wish to thereby help people reflect on how to deal with sexual harassment – and, where needed, incorporate new measures in the dialogue. In addition, we intend to demonstrate that addressing sexual harassment can contribute towards a better working environment.”

Examples of best practice stem from private companies, non-profit organisations and the public sector. They take into account various industries and sizes of company and describe prevention and intervention measures such as guidelines and codes of conduct, training, information and awareness-raising activities, advice and support of the people affected and works agreements.

In the context of analysing these measures, the team of experts conducted interviews with those responsible, e.g. with management personnel, officers, members of works or staff councils, legal advisors and ombudspeople. Subsequently, experts studied the analyses, describe the starting situation, present steps for implementation, examine their respective context and effectiveness and provide suggestions for transferral into other companies.

In addition to the online portal, employees, employers and works councils can receive free information regarding their rights and obligations with the tried and tested, comprehensible guideline by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency on Was tun bei sexueller Belästigung am Arbeitsplatz (What to do in the event of sexual harassment at the workplace). The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency additionally provides those affected with free initial legal consultation in cases of sexual harassment at work.

The examples of best practice can be found here (in German).

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency is an independent contact point for persons affected by discriminatio. It was established in 2006 when the General Act on Equal Treatment entered into force. The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency does public relations work and research on the topic of Discrimination and offers legal initial counselling for people who have been discriminated against on grounds of ethnic origin, religion, ideology, sexual identity, age, disability or gender.