In case of harassment

What to do in cases of conflict, psychological or sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of discrimination based on gender. Sexual harassment is imposed behaviour resulting from a power-based relationship. It is not to be confused therefore with relationships based on seduction, which involve reciprocity.

"Discriminatory behaviour means any importunate behaviour of a sexual character or any other behaviour based on sexual appropriation which undermines personal dignity at the place of work, particularly making threats, promising advantages, imposing constraints or exerting pressure of any kind on a person with a view to obtaining from them favours of a sexual nature".
Federal law on gender equality, article 4.

Psychological harassment or mobbing is characterised by different forms of hostile behaviour exhibited by one or more individuals seeking to undermine an employee or make them feel inferior consistently or repeatedly over a period of several months.

Even though its manifestations may be different, psychological harassment nearly always has as its root an unresolved conflict. This conflict may stem from a divergence of views, rivalry, an endeavour to influence, power struggles, etc. This is why, in the event of conflict, action must be taken rapidly. Indeed, the longer it goes on, the more the working atmosphere deteriorates and the more difficult it is to re-establish a situation of trust.

If you feel you are being mobbed, sexually harassed or are experiencing a conflict situation with no resolution in sight, it is essential to keep a careful record of all incidents of victimisation: person responsible, date, time, place, facts, what was said, possible witnesses.

It is advisable to try and explain your feelings clearly, without being aggressive, to the person whose actions you perceive as hostile. However, it is not always possible to do this and it may be that the person does not listen or want to listen. In every Latin university there are authorities than can be contacted in cases of conflict, mobbing, or psychological or sexual harassment. Trade unions and staff associations can also provide information and assistance in such procedures.


University of FribourgService de l'égalité entre femmes et hommes, or Service social (both in French or German)

University of GenevaDivision des ressources humaines / Gestion des conflits (in French)

University of Lausanne - Harcèlement sexuel (in French)

University of Neuchâtel - Gestion des conflits (in French)

HES-SO - Egalité et diversité (in French)

To find out more

Non c'est non! Site giving information about sexual harassment in the workplace (in French, based on Swiss legislation and jurisprudence) 

«  Harcèlement sexuel et harcèlement psychologique (mobbing) », Guide social romand, fiche 106 (in French).

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (2005), Mobbing. Description and legal aspects, Bern : SECO.

Federal Office for Gender Equality and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (2007), Harcèlement sexuel sur le lieu de travail. Conseils destinés aux employées et employés, Bern : BFEG & SECO.