Adoption of the implementation report of the multi-sectoral guidelines to tackle work-related third-party violence

At the the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Hospital Sector Plenary Meeting of 11 December 2013, HOSPEEM and EPSU members adopted the report on the use and implementation of the Multi-sectoral guidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment related to work including recommendations. 

The joint evaluation and implementation report contains examples on how the multi-sectoral guidelines have been promoted and implemented by the member organisations of the signatory parties in the framework of projects and campaigns.

The report also contains recommendations for further steps and summarise the main challenges, whereof the main highlights are the following:

• A social partner agreement on preventing third-party violence could be a further step to a more stringent implementation of the guidelines if there is consensus between the social partners to start any negotiations.
• Further projects, conferences, and training for the social partners’ affiliates at local, regional and national level should be considered to implement the guidelines, with financial support of the European Commission.
• National projects could receive financial support from the European Social Fund.
• The implementation of the multi-sectoral guidelines should become an integral part of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Work programmes of the respective social dialogue committees who signed the guidelines. A follow-up report should be conducted by 2015 to evaluate progress on the implementation of the guidelines and identify the potential need for further action.

Download the report

Implementation of multi-sectoral guidance on third party violence in the workplace


This document provides a summary report of the discussions at the three regional workshops held as part of the project on the Implementation of the multi-sectoral guidance on third party violence in the workplace, in London on 9th May, in Rome on 14th June and in and in in Prague on 6 September 2011.

Background of the project

On 16 July 2010, EPSU, UNIEuropa, ETUCE, HOSPEEM, CEMR, EFEE, EUROCOMMERCE, COESS, representing the social partners of the commerce, private security, local governments, education and hospital sectors have reached an agreement on multi-sectoral guidelines aimed to tackle third-party violence and harassment at work.

These Guidelines have been developed following two major conferences organised with the support of the Commission in March 2008 and October 2009 at which the outcomes of a research on third-party violence were presented along with case studies and joint conclusions . Therefore, these Guidelines build on these initiatives and complement the cross-sectoral Framework Agreement on Harassment and Violence at Work of 26 April 2007.

The organisation which were party to the multi-sectoral guidelines subsequently decided to disseminate the guidelines and obtained funding from the European Commission for a project to assist with the translation of the guidance into all EU languages, for three regional seminars and a final conference to be held with the goal making the guidelines more widely known, sharing good practices in tackling third party violence in the workplace and encouraging national member organisations to think about how the guidelines will be implemented in each Member State. GHK Consulting was commissioned to assist in the moderation of these events and in the preparation of reports.

The social partners from Central Government Administration (Trade Union’s National and European Delegation and European Public Administration Employers) added their signatures to the Multisectoral Guidelines on 17 December 2018, at the Liaison Forum in Brussels. Find the press release here

FULL TEXT: Summary report regional workshops | Multisectoral Guidelines Signed (guidelines also available in FR/DE/BG/CZ/DK/EE/EL/ES/FI/HU/IT/LT/NL/PL/PT/RO/RU/SK/SL)

Multi-sectoral guidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment related to work

Eight European Sectoral Social Partners; HOSPEEM, CEMR, CoESS, EFEE, EuroCommerce, EPSU, UNI Europa and ETUCE reached an agreement on a set of “Multi-sectoral Guidelines to Tackle Third-Party Violence and Harassment related to Work” on 16 July 2010.

The social partners from Central Government Administration (Trade Union’s National and European Delegation – TUNED and European Public Administration Employers – EUPAE) added their signatures to the Multisectoral Guidelines on 17 December 2018, at the Liaison Forum in Brussels. Find the press release here

The aim of the Guidelines is to ensure that that each workplace has a results-oriented policy which addresses the issue of third-party violence. The Guidelines set out the practical steps that can be taken by employers, workers and their representatives /trade unions to reduce, prevent and mitigate problems. The steps reflect the best practices developed in our sectors and they can be complemented by more specific and/or additional measures.

According to EU and national law, both employers and workers have obligations in the field of health and safety. Although, the duty to ensure the health and safety of workers in every aspect related to the work lies with the employer, the employees also have a responsibility to take care, as far as possible, of their own health and safety and that of other persons affected by their actions at work, in accordance with their training and the instructions given by their employer. Employers also have an obligation to consult workers and/or their representatives and allow them to take part on all questions relating to health and safety at work. This reflects awareness that, in practice, a joint approach to health and safety is the most successful.

The signatory social partners from the local and regional governments, healthcare, commerce, private security and education sectors are increasingly concerned about the impact of third-party violence on employees because it not only undermines an individual’s health and dignity, but also has a very real economic impact in terms of absence from the workplace, morale and staff turnover. Third party-violence can also create an environment that is unsafe and even frightening to the public and service users and therefore has a wide negative social impact.

Work-related third-party violence and harassment can take many forms. It could:

a) Be physical, psychological, verbal and/or sexual b) Be one-off incidents or more systematic patterns of behaviour, by an individual or group c) Originate from the actions or behaviour of clients, customers, patients, service users, pupils or parents, members of the public, or of the service provider d) Range from cases of disrespect to more serious threats and physical assault; e) Be caused by mental health problems and/or motivated by emotional reasons, personal dislike, prejudices on grounds of gender, racial/ethnic origin, religion and belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or body image. f) Constitute criminal offences aimed at the employee and his/her reputation or the property of the employer or client which may be organised or opportunistic and which require the intervention of public authorities g) Deeply affect the personality, dignity and integrity of the victims h) Occur at the work place, in the public space or in a private environment and is work related. i) Occur as cyber-bullying/cyber-harassment through a wide range of information and communication technologies (ICT).

The issue of third party violence is sufficiently distinct from the question of violence and harassment (among colleagues) in the workplace, and sufficiently significant in terms of its impact on the health and safety of workers and its economic impact to warrant a distinctive approach.

Although there are sectoral and organisational differences with regard to third-party violence faced by workers in different occupations and workplaces, the key elements of good practice and steps to tackle it are common to all working environments. These elements are: a partnership approach; clear definitions; prevention through risk assessment, awareness raising, training; clear reporting and follow-up; and appropriate evaluation.

With the support of the European Commission the multi-sectoral social partners organized two major conferences in Brussels on 14 March 2008 and 22 October 2009 at which the employers’ and trade unions’ research into third-party violence was presented along with case studies and joint conclusions. These Guidelines build on these initiatives. They complement the cross-sectoral Framework Agreement on Harassment and Violence at Work of 26 April 2007. The way in which particular services are organised and provided reflects national, regional and local circumstances. Where social partners are already implementing the measures set out in these Guidelines the main action to take will be to report on progress made.

The multi-sectoral social partners recognize that the employers and workers have professional, ethical and legal obligations to third parties as well as to each other.

FULL TEXT: Multi Sectoral Guidelines on Third Party Violence

(also available in FR/DE/BG/CZ/DK/EE/EL/ES/FI/HU/IT/LT/NL/PL/PT/RO/RU/SK/SL)