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.
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.
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)
Yelling, shouting, mobbing, threats.
Negative comments on family/lifestyle/culture, marginalizing from normal work actitivies, spreading misinformation or malicious rumors.
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 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.
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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