A person who considers themselves a victim of mobbing could sue the harasser before the court. The following persons can be labeled as potential harassers: employer as a natural person, an authorized person in a legal person as an employer, another employee or a group of employees. Victim of mobbing can be only an employee who works or who is engaged in another way by an employer.
Although this solution sounds logical, there is a danger that the Law cannot be applied in many situations in practice. For example, if a firm has concluded a cleaning contract with another firm which is specialized in that field, a charwoman who is mobbed by employees of the firm where she cleans could not be protected according to the Law; couriers of post express would be faced with the same problem. An employee who is mobbed cannot sue an employer of a mobber because he is not his own employer, but he cannot sue his own employer either because he does not have any kind of control over a mobber. (4)
Lawsuit for the protection against mobbing
An employee who considers themselves a victim of mobbing by their employer can file a suit for mobbing before the court of law which has jurisdiction for such suits within six months as of the day the last action that represents mobbing occurred.
The deadline for filing a suit for mobbing, in case it is preceded by an attempt of amicable dispute settlement through mediation, is 15 days as of the day of delivery of a mediation decision which the employee is not pleased with.On the other hand, general labor dispute for the protection of individual rights of an employee can be initiated within sixty days from the date of receiving the decision.
It is crucial to distinguish procedure for protection against mobbing from the general labor dispute since the object of the former cannot be the impeachment of the legality of employer’s decision on rights, obligations, and responsibilities related to work. It is often the case that the employee is subjected to mobbing by this employer’s decision if the condition of the repetition of the act of mobbing is fulfilled. That means that the victim of mobbing will have to seek help in general labor dispute, and in that case, there is a difference in terms of the deadline for proceedings’ initiation and which court has jurisdiction.
High courts have jurisdiction over procedures for protection against mobbing, while basic courts have jurisdiction over general labor disputes.
Mobbing – the courts’ position?Despite acknowledging that the urgency of proceedings is a main principle of the mobbing dispute, in practice, the proceedings may take several years, so the quality and the efficiency of the provision are questionable. Therefore, it is crucial to become familiar with possible ways to protect yourself as a victim of mobbing during the proceedings before the employer, as well as during the court proceedings.
Namely, if an employee may suffer unrecoverable harm and if due to these activities are their health and life endangered (confirmed with proper medical documentation) the employer has to undertake one of the following measures:
- To move a mobber in another working environment
- To remove him from work, with reimbursement of salary.
Morevoer, the employee who is the victim of mobbing has the right to refuse to work if the employer does not accept any of the mentioned measures. During this period, he is entitled to salary reimbursement in the amount of the average salary which the employee earned in the last three months preceding the day the victimized employee stopped working.
There is also a possibility to determine protective measures during the proceedings before the court, on the party’s initiative or ex officio. The Law provides the following measures:
- prohibition of rapprochement
- prohibition of entry to the employee’s workplace
- other measures: obligation to return the employee to work or an obligation to pay salary reimbursement to the employee during the proceedings.
No separate appeal is allowed against the decision to apply protective measures.