Judgment No. 2553
The complaint is dismissed.
Harassment is described in IAEA staff notice SEC/NOT/1922 as follows:
"Harassment is any conduct or comment made by a staff member or group of staff members on either a one-time or continuous basis that demeans, belittles or causes personal humiliation. It can take many different forms, including, for example: threatening comments, whether oral or written, or threatening physical behaviour; intimidation, blackmail or coercion; making deliberate insults related to a person's personal or professional competence; humiliating, degrading or making offensive or abusive personal remarks to someone; undermining or isolating people; or making it impossible for staff to do their job by, for example, withholding information."
"This is a very broad definition, no doubt designedly so. It requires reasonable interpretation and application to the circumstances of each particular case. It contains both subjective and objective elements: did the alleged victim actually feel humiliated, offended or intimidated by the impugned conduct, and was such conduct, viewed objectively, of a nature reasonably to humiliate, offend or intimidate? Where the impugned conduct consists of words, although truth will not always constitute a complete defence, an inquiry as to whether such words may or may not reasonably be true is obviously relevant. Likewise, an inquiry as to whether the speaker's words can reasonably be seen as a reference to the performance of duties and are not merely gratuitous comments will be germane. Personal characteristics such as gender, race and ethnicity as well as the reasonableness of the sensitivities of the alleged victim, must also be weighed in considering both questions. Similarly, any previous history of relations between the alleged victim and the alleged offender may be relevant and, while a single injurious action may by itself be enough to constitute harassment, an otherwise apparently inoffensive comment may, with repetition, become a legitimate source of grievance.
In the final analysis, the question as to whether any particular act or series of acts amounts to harassment is one of fact to be answered only after careful consideration of the above factors and an examination of all the surrounding circumstances."
Organization rules reference: IAEA staff notice SEC/NOT/1922
moral injury; sex discrimination; organisation's duties; continuing breach; respect for dignity; written rule; information note; breach; interpretation; qualifications; conduct; working relations; judicial review; criteria; definition; difference; purpose; harassment; official