Answer to Written Question: Commission procedures for handling staff complaints of harassment
(Source: European Parliament)
Answer given by Mr Hahn
on behalf of the European Commission
An internal evaluation of Commission Decision C(2006)1624/3 of 26 April 2006 on the Commission policy on protecting the dignity of the person and preventing psychological harassment and sexual harassment was carried out two years following entry into force. The evaluation was finalised in 2010, and included staff polling.
In subsequent periods, staff were polled regularly on the subject of the working environment more broadly (Staff Survey) in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018.
A review of the 2006 Decision began in 2018. Polling of staff on issues around harassment is integrated into this review. A staff poll was held from 10 to 31 March 2021 on the topic of diversity, inclusion and respect at the workplace, including dedicated questions on harassment. The Commission has also drawn on polling included in the Court of Auditor’s Special Report 13/2019 entitled ‘The ethical frameworks of the audited EU institutions: scope for improvement’.
The statistics available on the number of harassment allegations cover a period of ten years (2011-2020). During this period, the competent service of the Commission dealt with 130 cases concerning allegations of harassment. In 13 cases, the competent Authority imposed disciplinary sanctions for facts qualified either as harassment or as inappropriate behaviour. Further to these disciplinary sanctions, the competent Authority issued two warnings. Of the 130 cases, one is suspended awaiting the outcome at national court, and six are ongoing (two at the stage of the disciplinary proceedings and four at the stage of the administrative inquiry).