French laws n° 2018-771 and n°2018-703 on sexual harassment at work – How does a whistleblower hotline help?

March 15, 2019

French laws n°2018-771 and n°2018-703 on sexual harassment at work are examples of societal trends and issues quickly being translated into legislation. The laws came into force in France on January 1, 2019, placing new requirements on companies to combat sexual abuse. How can a whistleblowing system be a tool for fighting sexual harassment at work?

laws n°2018-771 and n°2018-703 on sexual harassment

Cyber-harassment (sexual or moral) is a criminal offence in France according to law n°2018-771

Law n° 2018-771 recognizes cyber-harassment as a criminal offence when a group of people act, as a group or at the instigation of a member of the group, against the same victim. Additionally, cyber-harassment exacerbates circumstances for harassment taking place on the Internet or other digital devices, and incurs a penalty of 45,000 euros and 3 years of imprisonment.

How laws n°2018-771 and n°2018-703 define sexist acts and sexually suggestive behaviour

The objective of this legislation is to prevent sexual harassment and sexist acts in the workplace.

Law n°2018-771, the law on sexual harassment and sexist acts aims to protect victims of repetitive harassment and also recognizes sexual abuse and sexually suggestive behaviour as an offence, including:

– gender-based discrimination, misogynistic behaviour

– sexual suggestions

– non-verbal demeanour such as gestures, whistles or obscene sounds

– an attempt to aggressively attack a person in a degrading manner

– sexually abusive comments on a person’s outfit or physical appearance

Contrary to harassment, sexual abuse does not need to be recurrent to be prosecutable.

Comply with laws n°2018-771 and n°2018-703 with a whistleblower hotline

Laws n°2018-771 and n°2018-703 place new obligations on companies to combat sexual harassment and sexist acts.  Thus, companies with over 250 employees have to nominate a sexual harassment representative and moreover inform staff about the representative.

To help combat sexual harassment at work and simplify the task of the new representative, WhistleB proposes a turnkey solution. It involves a whistleblower hotline that allows the victim to alert a person about the facts on the workplace sexual harassment from any device with access to the Internet.


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