Bullying law: a question of resources

By Christian BlockLex KlerenMike Zenari Switch to German for original article

Waiting times of up to three months: Mobbing asbl is reaching its staffing limits one year after the law came into force. The ITM is also receiving more enquiries. However, "real" cases of bullying are the exception - partly because there are hurdles.

Just over a year ago, after more than 20 years of debate, Luxembourg passed a law to protect against harassment in the workplace. For a variety of reasons, the legislative act did not cause leaps of joy on the part of employers and even less so on the part of employees. However, it had a signalling effect that was reflected in the workload of the Association Against Bullying and Stress at Work. "Our association has never had as much work as last year, " summarises the Director of Mobbing asbl, Magdalena Mida, for 2023. Following the passing of the law, "a lot of companies have contacted us. Last year, we held ten training courses and 16 conferences in a total of 21 different companies, " she says.

For the interview, the Journal visited the association's offices in the train station district in Luxembourg city. The room, furnished with a seating area and armchairs, offers a view of a spacious inner courtyard surrounded by multi-storey buildings. The feeling of being surrounded is likely to be experienced by many a client who approaches the organisation. The team has been meeting people who are confronted with stressful and humiliating situations at their workplace here for more than 20 years. The need for help in 2023 was at a similarly high level as in previous years, although the organisation has recently opened more cases again (see chart).

The high workload prompted the association to make a cut last November. "We set up a waiting list in November because we wanted to work through the dossiers opened in 2023. As a result, we started this year with 28 dossiers." Consequently, people who approached the association for the first time in 2024 had to wait up to three months for an appointment, as Mida explained to the Journal in mid-March.

It's all about prevention

For the director of Mobbing asbl, it was clear long before the law was passed that the legislative step alone would not be enough. "The law was voted through. That's a good thing. Is it enough? No. Above all, it's not enough because the individual person is not involved enough." In other words, the rights and procedural steps provided for by the law – internally and then possibly via the labour inspectorate – are one thing. But before those affected are even in a position to take this step or can bring themselves to do so, preparatory work has to be done. With the exception of people who are already undergoing psychotherapeutic treatment, this task is likely to fall to the Mobbing asbl to a not inconsiderable extent. "The ITM also sends us people. These are mainly people who are not yet ready to make it official, but who need help and support."

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