International labour standards

France ratifies Convention C190 on violence and harassment in the world of work

France becomes the 27th country in the world, and the 5th country in the European Union, to ratify the International Labour Organization Convention on Violence and Harassment.

News | 13 April 2023
Olivier Dussopt, Minister for Labour, Full Employment and Inclusion (left), with ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo (right) © ILO
GENEVA (ILO News) – On 12 April 2023, France deposited the instrument of ratification of the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) with the Director-General of the ILO. By depositing the instrument of ratification, France becomes the 27th country in the world, and the 5th country in the European Union, to ratify Convention No. 190.

Convention No. 190 is an emblematic instrument. It is the first international labour standard to deal with violence and harassment in the workplace. Together with Recommendation No. 206, it provides a common framework for action and a unique opportunity to shape a future of work based on social justice. These instruments will be essential to achieving the goals set by the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, adopted in 2019, which makes a clear commitment to a world of work free from violence and harassment, and more recently, by the ILO Global Call to Action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.

The Convention affirms that everyone has the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment. It also provides the first internationally agreed definition of violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence, as "a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices" that "are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm". This definition protects anyone in the world of work, including trainees or apprentices, and individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer, and covers the public and private sectors, in the formal or informal economy, in urban or rural areas.

The Convention also requires ratifying Member States to adopt, in consultation with representative employers' and workers' organizations, an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach for the prevention and elimination of violence and harassment, through protection and prevention measures, enforcement and remedies, as well as guidance, training and awareness-raising. The Convention and its accompanying Recommendation are tangible evidence of the enduring value and strength of social dialogue and tripartism, which shaped them, and will be essential to their implementation at the national level.

Depositing the official instrument of ratification at the ceremony held at the ILO in Geneva, Olivier Dussopt, Minister for Labour, Full Employment and Inclusion, said:

“The finalization of the ratification of Convention No. 190 marks a decisive moment for labour law and the lives of employees, particularly women, as this text is the first global standard to aim at the elimination of all forms of violence and harassment at work. France was a driving force in the adoption of this convention and calls on all ILO Member States to ratify it as well.”

In receiving the instrument of ratification of Convention No. 190, the Director-General, Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo, underlined the active role played by France in the standard-setting process, notably in supporting the adoption of ILO instruments on violence and harassment and in helping to achieve consensus on the issues addressed in both Convention No. 190 and Recommendation No. 206. The Director-General said:

"I would like to highlight France's strong commitment to addressing the root causes of violence and harassment and, in particular, gender-based violence, as demonstrated by the key role it played in organizing and supporting the Generation Equality Forum held in Paris from 30 June to 2 July 2021. France's recent reforms to make the principles contained in Convention No. 190 a reality (such as the ban on sexual harassment in the street in 2018, and the introduction of a referent for the "fight against sexual harassment and sexist behaviour" in companies with at least 250 employees in 2019) demonstrate the country's commitment to and interest in standards on violence and harassment in the workplace. It is indeed particularly important, in the current global social and economic context, to continue the fight against this pervasive phenomenon, which has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. By ratifying Convention No. 190, France confirms its commitment, since the creation of the ILO more than a century ago, to the creation of a world of work free of violence and harassment, based on dignity and respect for all and leaving no one behind.”

France also integrates the fight against violence and harassment in its external cooperation action. In this regard, it has supported technical cooperation projects to promote the ratification and implementation of Convention No. 190.

To date, France has ratified 129 conventions and 2 protocols (81 of which are in force). For more information, see the ILO’s database NORMLEX.