University International Labour Organization
Brazil Employer Representative


Aaron Dean Barling

Cite as


Ending violence and harassment in the workplace

International Labour Organization


Employer Representative of Brazil


Aaron Barling




Violence and harassment in the workplace are persistent issues that render enormous consequences. In recent times, this phenomenon has gained worldwide traction and has affected both men and women alike. This issue significantly affects all individuals involved, the entirety of the workplace and, by extension, the community around it. There are many facets of workplace violence and harassment including, but not limited to, physical and verbal assault, sexual harassment, bullying, threats, and homicide. Moreover, it is important to note that actions of violence can be physical and/or non-physical. Furthermore, acts of violence and harassment do not occur sporadically. Within the workplace, they often stem from an individual’s personal experiences, circumstances, and social interactions. Violence and harassment in the workplace has become a significant issue in our world today. It is of paramount importance that countries work together to eliminate workplace violence and harassment and, in doing so, improve the working conditions of their people.


Many international companies have shifted their existing codes of conduct, and have adopted new rules in attempts to eradicate violence and harassment in the workplace. Accompanied by employee hotlines and counsellors, and staff training sessions, organizations have seen dramatic improvement in the way these incidents are dealt with.


The line between what is considered to be harassment and what is accepted as professional behaviour is nothing short of ambiguous. In Brazil, common workplace behaviours extend well beyond affectionate greetings. Casual touching is often perceived as a common act in Brazil, and employees often share personal details about their lives with co-workers and bosses. Moreover, although sexual harassment has been a crime in Brazil since 2001, the law only takes into account the interactions of the bosses and subordinates. With regards to the workplace, forty percent of Brazilian women have stated that they have been sexually harassed (taken from a study by Datafohla). It is therefore clear that this law needs to be reconsidered and expanded to include not only the interaction between bosses and subordinates, but the interaction between all company personnel regardless of status.


Because Brazil is a country that is anchored in its patriarchal traditions, incidents of violence and harassment are prevalent in Brazil, steps must be taken in order to mitigate these incidents. The International Labour Organisation has guided Brazil’s safety and health policies to a significant degree. Due to the ILO’s influence, Brazil has committed to establishing a new plan for the care provided to victims of sexual violence and harassment.


In recent times, Brazil has worked with a number of initiatives that appear to provide stronger incentives for worker safety and better tools for tracking and understanding workplace conditions. A large portion of Brazilian law demonstrates great concern for the conditions of workers. As stipulated in the Constitution and other laws, weekly maximum hours are spe...