Judgment No. 4378
The complaint is dismissed.
The complainant impugns the decision to close after an initial review and without conducting a formal investigation his harassment complaint against the WHO Internal Oversight Services.
harassment; investigation; complaint dismissed
It is understandable why the complainant’s formal harassment complaint was directed against IOS. He was not necessarily informed who from that department was involved in his case. The fact that the complainant’s harassment complaint was directed against the entire IOS did not absolve WHO from investigating (see Judgment 3347, consideration 14; see also Judgment 4207, consideration 15), as the complaint could readily be construed as targeting the persons within IOS who had dealt with the complainant’s case, even if their identity was known only to the Administration. Furthermore, the Tribunal notes that paragraph 3.1.4 of the WHO Policy provides that “[h]arassment may involve a group”. Finally, WHO cannot ignore that the case law of the Tribunal recognizes institutional harassment (see Judgments 3250, 4111, 4243 and 4345) and that it should take this into account when interpreting its own rules. Accordingly, the external reviewer’s finding that the complainant’s harassment complaint was beyond the scope of the WHO Policy and was, therefore, irreceivable is an error of law. However, this error of law does not have any impact on the outcome of the present complaint, as the external reviewer also conducted an initial review of the substance of the complainant’s harassment complaint, as provided in the WHO Policy.
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 3250, 3347, 4111, 4207, 4243, 4345
mistake of law; harassment; investigation
The complainant’s reliance on Judgments 3264 and 3137 is misplaced. It is recalled that in the present complaint the complainant contests the decision to close his harassment complaint against IOS. In the harassment complaint, the complainant identified actions taken by IOS in its investigation of allegations of misconduct made against him that he claimed amounted to harassment and abuse of power. Thus, in submitting the harassment complaint, the complainant was the reporter of possible misconduct, a potential victim of the harassment and a witness. Given that the complainant, in this case, was not the subject of the investigation process and, therefore, was not in an adversarial situation, as contemplated in Judgments 3264 and 3137, the principle of due process and the right to be heard are not applicable in these circumstances. Accordingly, the complainant’s submission that his right to be heard was violated is unfounded.
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 3137, 3264
due process; harassment; right to be heard; investigation