At the end of the year, an international training on gender based harassment on the workplace was held in Innsbruck (Austria). It is part of the project "BE AWARE", which will create opportunities for sexual harassment in the workplace to be identified and sanctioned. And to help his victims. The project will also help employers who annually lose their employees who leave "for unexplained reasons". Very often, these invisible causes are related with harassment between colleagues or other attacks, in most cases gender based, which most often cause victims to leave the toxic work environment. And very often, they also need extra help to overcome the mental and emotional traumas resulting from prolonged harassment on the workplace.

 Surveys show that some of the employers in Bulgaria do not have any internal rules regarding harassment, insulting or sexual abuse between colleagues. This leads to the concealment and neglecting of such cases. The BE AWARE project will create tools to assist victims of sexual harassment on the workplace and encourage employers to create a more supportive and secure environment for their employees. Something that will increase their ability to work.

International training in Innsbruck, with representatives from five countries, demonstrates the enormous impact that sexual harassment on the workplace can have on the employees' psyche and on the whole work atmosphere in an institution or company. At the same time, gender-based harassment in the workplace is differently perceived by local culture and legislation, but in any case it is a "phenomenon" known in all countries, regardless of the country's dominant religion or political model.

The representatives of Bulgaria from the Gender Alternatives Foundation were surprised to learn that there is a special state institution in Turkey, in which there are several hundred employees working on national level, dealing only with cases of sexual harassment at the workplace. Turkey was the only country on this international training that have a national emergency telephone number for registering cases of sexual harassment. In Spain, on the other hand, the strict rules laid down in the Spanish Labor Code have long laid down a legal ban on sexual harassment. There is a long-standing court practice in the country dealing with cases of sexual harassment on the workplace. For comparison, in Bulgaria the topic of sexual harassment at work is not mentioned in legislative texts and the percentage of companies which have and internal rules on harassment at workplace is very small.

The project continues and the models of international training will be included in the forthcoming thematic trainings in Bulgaria.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only
of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.

January 18, 2020