Code of Conduct gives Viet Nam hope to address workplace sexual harassment, protecting workers and benefiting business

A new Code of Conduct developed with ILO support is expected to help the Government, employers and workers in Viet Nam identify sexual harassment in the workplace, prevent and address it through practical guidance which is missing in the laws.

News | 25 May 2015
HANOI (ILO News) – A Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace for Viet Nam has been launched in Hanoi today (25 May) with an aim to help tackle the legal gaps in preventing and addressing this issue.

Developed and endorsed by the Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Code encourages the nation-wide application by all companies, in both public and private sectors, on a voluntary basis.

The development of the Code was supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) with reference to existing codes of practice on sexual harassment around the world.

Sexual harassment at the workplace is prohibited in the 2012 Labour Code. However, according to MoLISA Vice Minister Pham Minh Huan, the laws are not specific enough, making the implementation a difficult task.

“This Code of Conduct aims to help employers and workers to develop their own policy or regulation, or integrate this content into their existing policies and regulations, which serves as a ground for preventing and addressing sexual harassment, in order to promote healthy, safe, quality and productive workplaces,” he said.

Mrs. Nienke Trooster, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands © ILO
The Code gives practical guidance to the Government, employers’ organizations, trade unions and workers on what is meant by sexual harassment in the workplace, how it can be prevented, and what steps should be taken if it occurs.

ILO Viet Nam Director Gyorgy Sziraczki called the launch of the Code “a step forward of Viet Nam in the fight against gender-based violence in the workplace”.

“Sexual harassment can not only result in emotional and physical stress for the victims, affecting their job performance, but also reduce productivity and competitiveness of businesses,” he said. “The ILO will stand side by side with Viet Nam in the process of improving the legal gaps in dealing with this sensitive issue in the workplace for both workers’ benefits and business sense.”

VGCL Vice Chairman Mai Duc Chinh and VCCI Vice President Hoang Quang Phong also agreed on the importance of the Code and committed to joining hands in effectively implementing it in order to create a workplace culture that does not tolerate sexual harassment.

According to a report carried out by MoLISA with ILO support in 2012, most of the victims of sexual harassment in Viet Nam are female workers aged between 18 and 30. However, the culture and fear of losing jobs prevent many of them from reporting the cases.