Viet Nam steps up its fight against sexual harassment at work

The Code of Conduct on sexual harassment at work is being updated while a new manual is developed to help employers address this issue.

News | 11 January 2022
HANOI (ILO News) – Viet Nam is stepping up the fight against sexual harassment at work by updating its Code of Conduct and developing a new manual on preventing and addressing this issue.

The development of the two documents is led by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in cooperation with the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour. The process received technical support from the International Labour Organization, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and Fair Wear Foundation.

The updated Code of Conduct confirms the commitment by tripartite partners – the Government, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and is expected to raise the awareness on sexual harassment at work and facilitate the implementation of the relevant provisions in the 2019 Labour Code and its accompanying Decree 145 at enterprise level.

Meanwhile, the manual will provide employers and other parties with specific guidance to prevent and address sexual harassment at work in practice for healthy and productive working environments.

“Employers play a key role in developing and maintaining a zero-sexual harassment working environment,” said Nguyen Van Binh, Director-General of MOLISA’s Legal Department.

Sexual harassment in the workplace was first outlawed by Viet Nam through the 2012 Labour Code but it did not provide any definition and instructions on how to address the issue. In that context, the ILO in Viet Nam supported its tripartite partners to develop the first Code of Conduct on sexual harassment in the workplace in 2015 to help to bridge the legal gap.

The 2019 Labour Code strengthens this protection by including clear definition of sexual harassment at work and the updated Code of Conduct and new manual will provide specific guidance for implementation.

Nguyen Ngoc Trieu, ILO Viet Nam senior programme officer called the development of the Code of Conduct and manual “an important effort” bringing Viet Nam closer to international labour standards, particularly the new ILO's Convention 190 on eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work.

In December 2021, about 150 participants, including many representatives from enterprises, joined the consultation workshop on the draft documents both online and physically.

The launch of the updated Code of Conduct is expected to take place in the first half of 2022, followed by the manual.