Lidl — absence of workplace sexual harassment policy
"Mild" instances of sexual harassment are rife in the workplace, especially in countries like the Czech Republic.
EU legislation, defining sexual harassment and outlining steps for fostering appropriate workplace behaviour, has been implemented, and the European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO) reports that a number of companies have established a workplace code of ethics. Czech public officials, however, largely consider “mild” sexual harassment—in the form of degrading remarks toward one's female co-workers—a non-issue. Czech public officials do not generally know how to deal with more “severe” sexual harassment, or bullying for that matter, because they do not recognise it for what it is. Moreover, there is a great resistance to change, and absence of change management, so it’s a waste of time pursuing any kind of action via Czech line managers. What is surprising, though, is that Germans don’t seem to be much better than the Czechs!
A simple enquiry to Lidl Germany about reading Lidl’s workplace sexual harassment policy turned into drawn-out correspondence lasting several weeks, until present, with Lidl never acknowledging that they actually have a workplace sexual harassment policy. Most truly global and progressive companies have their policies, including the aforementioned one, on their company website for public access.
A final statement from Lidl:
"Our company expressly dissociates itself from any kind of violence or repression including sexual harassment."
The above statement is a disclaimer (not policy) and seems to suggest Lidl is not legally responsible for any violence or repression, including sexual harassment in the workplace.
But according to EU/German legislation, it is Lidl’s responsibility and obligation to protect their employees against sexual harassment in the workplace. They should have a workplace sexual harassment policy, and this policy should define mild and severe forms of workplace sexual harassment. It should also outline preventive measures, and measures and sanctions against harassing persons. Their employees should be informed the law, and victims of sexual harassment should be entitled to complain.
If they do not protect their employees against sexual harassment, the employees are entitled, by law, to stop work, without loss of payment, for as long as Lidl does not care for their protection.