Abuse and Harassment

Abuse and Harasmment

Forms of abuse, harassment and bullying in the workplace reported by workers:

Elasticity of duties

Expanding a list of a worker’s duties that does not fit how a worker is being treated and paid.

Keeping on minimum wage while increasing responsibilities.

Providing misleading contracts.

Adding a note in the contract that workers should be ready to do additional tasks on demand.

Being treated as disposable

Treated as easily replaceable.

Unreliable work-schedule, unplanned overtime, excessive hours/not being given shifts, overwork due to insufficient staffing.

No say in the schedule, no say in time off.

All forms of time mismanagement affect the workers and is a form of abuse.

an employee feeling the pressure in the office

All this can be used to undermine workers and be an element of bullying, especially when asking tasks that are inappropriate, ask only of certain classes of workers (women, immigrants, et) or beyond/below a person’s skills.

Emotional manipulation

elderly woman in eyeglasses telling off blond woman

Making workers feel responsible for the owner’s bad business decisions („The business is struggling“, „we are in this together“, „I am using my own private money to keep the business going“, etc).

Being watched on CCTV cameras.

(This is illegal, contact right away Personuvernd)

white surveillance camera
mad formal executive man yelling at camera

Yelling, shouting, mobbing, threats.

Negative comments on family/lifestyle/culture, marginalizing from normal work actitivies, spreading misinformation or malicious rumors.

close up photo of woman whispering to man
handing out of documents

Denying workers their legal rights to ressources, like insurance coverage for injuries, withholding wages to force worker to stay longer than notice period.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is still the most taboo topic to report. Workers decribe general disbelief that their workplace and the institutions in place will support them if they report abuse. For this reason, none of the workers who confided in us wanted to be quoted in the report.

Sexual harassment is defined as any kind of sexual behavior having the purpose or effect of offending the dignity of the person affected by it.

Especially when this behaviour creates circumstances that are threatening, hostile, degrading, humiliating or insulting.

The behavior can be verbal, symbolic and/or physical

Under Icelandic law, one event may be considered sexual harassment if it is serious

Abuse and harassment: status quo

It is common in the reports that workers realise much later what happened to them, and how harmful it was.

Abuse and harassment are very visible in the stories shared by the workers. Pressure, mistreatment and unpredictable behaviour of the managers are extremely common in low-paid jobs.

man people dark face

In most cases, individuals decided not to report violations because of lack of faith in institutions, unclear procedures, fear of personal information not being protected, lack of trust in local authorities.

Especially regarding bullying, abuse and harassment, workers were advises by their unions to simply change their job.

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