Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work: Convention No. 190, Recommendation No. 206, and the accompanying Resolution


The International Labour Organization’s International Labour Conference adopted the Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work on June 21, 2019. Along with this, the Conference also adopted the Violence and Harassment Convention (No. 190) and Recommendation (No. 206). The Convention came into force on June 25, 2021. A total of 39 countries have ratified the Convention as of May 2024. India is yet to do so.

Recognizing the right of every person to a workplace free from violence and harassment, including gender-based forms, the Convention acknowledges violence and harassment as a human rights violation and a hindrance to equal opportunities and decent work. It also stresses the importance of fostering a work culture based on mutual respect and dignity, calling on members to promote a zero-tolerance environment for such behaviours.

Additionally, it acknowledges the severe impacts of violence and harassment on an individual's physical, psychological, and social well-being, as well as their access to and advancement in the labour market. The Convention also recognizes the detrimental effects of violence and harassment on workplace dynamics, productivity, and gender disparities and highlights the disproportionate impact on women and girls. Emphasizing the need for a comprehensive and gender-sensitive approach to address these issues, it calls for measures by governments as well as employers’ and workers’ organisations to address its impacts.

The Convention contains 20 Articles. Articles 1-3 outline the definitions and the scope of the Convention. Articles 4-6 expand on the core principles whereas Articles 7-9 cover sections on protection and prevention. Article 10 highlights enforcement and remedial measures and Article 11 speaks on guidance, training and awareness-raising that member states are bound to carry out. Article 12 explains how the Convention will be applied by member states. Finally, Articles 13-20 outline ratification and denunciation procedures.

The following are excerpts from seven of the 20 Articles highlighting the different aspects of the Convention:

Article 1: For the purposes of this Convention: (a) the term “violence and harassment” in the world of work refers to a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices, or threats thereof, whether a single occurrence or repeated, that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm, and includes gender-based violence and harassment.

Article 2: This Convention protects workers and other persons in the world of work, including employees as defined by national law and practice, as well as persons working irrespective of their contractual status, persons in training, including interns and apprentices, workers whose employment has been terminated, volunteers, jobseekers and job applicants and individuals exercising the authority, duties or responsibilities of an employer.

Article 5: With a view to preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work, each member shall respect, promote and realize the fundamental principles and rights at work, namely freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour, the effective abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, as well as promote decent work.

Article 8: Each Member shall take appropriate measures to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work, including:
(a) recognizing the important role of public authorities in the case of informal economy workers;
(c) taking measures to effectively protect such persons.

Article 9: Each Member shall adopt laws and regulations requiring employers to take appropriate steps to commensurate with their degree of control to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence and harassment, and in particular, so far as is reasonably practicable, to:
(a) adopt and implement, in consultation with workers and their representatives, a workplace policy on violence and harassment.

Article 10: Each member shall take appropriate measures to:
(a) monitor and enforce national laws and regulations regarding violence and harassment in the world of work;
(b) ensure easy access to appropriate and effective remedies and safe, fair and effective reporting and dispute resolution mechanisms and procedures in cases of violence and harassment in the world of work (…)
(c) protect the privacy of those individuals involved and confidentiality, to the extent possible and as appropriate, and to ensure that requirements for privacy and confidentiality are not misused.

Article 12: The provisions of this Convention shall be applied by means of national laws and regulations, as well as through collective agreements or other measures consistent with national practice, including by extending or adapting existing occupational safety and health measures to cover violence and harassment and developing specific measures where necessary.

Focus by Oshin Anand.


International Labour Organization


International Labour Organization