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Harassment

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In two unusual cases, the General Court of the European Union has ruled that the European Parliament and the European Investment Bank pay compensation to employees who suffered harassment.

In the first case, a member of the European Parliament hired a parliamentary assistant. She subjected her to psychological harassment consisting of humiliating and scornful language, threats, insults and swearing. The General Court (overturning the Parliament's internal decision) held that the degree of repetitive and systematic intentional behaviour could not be excused (as the European Parliament had done) on the grounds it was an inherently stressful atmosphere, and awarded €10,000.

In the second case, an administrator claimed that her career at the European Investment Bank had been damaged by bullying. The Bank awarded her compensation but imposed a confidentiality requirement. The General Court held it was wrong to impose a confidentiality requirement, as the public interest required such findings of harassment to be open. Further, imposing confidentiality went against the aim of preventing and penalising European Institutions which permitted harassment. A €10,000 award was made because of the confidentiality requirement.

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