Serbia has no official data on workplace abuse despite regulation

Serbia has no official data on workplace abuse despite regulation |

Official data on workplace abuse does not exist in Serbia despite the country being the first in the region to regulate such matters, Ivica Lazović, director of the Serbian Agency for the Peaceful Resolution of Disputes, told EURACTIV.

In the EU, incidents of workplace abuse are recorded, with an average of 13-15% being exposed to mobbing, 7% to intimidation, 6% to physical harassment, and about 2% to sexual abuse.

In Serbia, however, there is no precise data regarding mobbing in companies, said Lazović. Still, it is assumed that Serbia is within the European average.

“Documents, witnesses hearings, expert testimony and hearings of both sides are the most frequently used evidence. The most unreliable witnesses are those whom the defendant employs. It is difficult to expect that they will testify to the detriment of their employer, in fear of losing their job,” Lazović said to EURACTIV.

“Employees in the public sector apply for protection against abuse at work more often. This is because there is relative permanence of labour relations in the public sector, and employees are more willing to fight for a better working environment”, he said, noting that this does not mean that mobbing is necessarily more common in the public sector.

Legal regulation

In Serbia, the Law on Prevention of Abuse at Work and the Law on Peaceful Resolution of Labour Disputes regulate abuse in work situations.

“Common agreement is the best way to overcome disagreements and problems – the conflict is not expanded, and relations are not further disrupted. Moreover, this procedure is free of charge”, said Lazović.

While employees in Serbia enjoy good judicial protection, the lengthy and costly proceedings for all parties, and the damage judicial proceedings can do to working relationships, alternative ways to resolving disputes should always be given priority, Lazović explained.

“Serbia is the first in the region to have a law on the protection against abuse at work and a prosperous practice of the Agency,” the director of the Agency for the Peaceful Resolution of Disputes also said.

This was why a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation on the Prevention and Resolution of Labour Disputes was signed “under the auspices of the International Labor Organisation, with similar agencies from Montenegro, Republika Srpska, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania and Romania,” he added.

( | Milena Antonijević)

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