• A
  • A
  • A
  • АБB
  • АБB
  • АБB
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Обычная версия сайта

Статья

The Regulation of Mobbing and Harassment in Russia: Current Challenges and Future Prospects

Workplace mobbing and harassment in Russia started to receive scholarly attention in 2000’s. This is relatively late in comparison with the majority of developed countries.[1] Today research on this topic is still   limited[2] and mostly addresses specific aspects (sexual harassment against women, correlation between harassment and HRM policies, psychological portrait of a mobber, etc).[3]

Some data on harassment have been collected while investigating more general topics – for example gender discrimination and human trafficking. Such studies show the peculiarities of this phenomenon in Russia and the public attitude towards it.

One of the most recent and comprehensive surveys on harassment jointly conducted by US and Russian scholars[4] demonstrates mixed attitude towards mobbing and harassment, at least when they involve women. About 25% of respondents are inclined to take an escapist approach, saying that there is nothing particularly wrong with the harasser’s behavior. This is supported with the fact that as many as 43% of respondents are of the opinion that the harasser shall not be punished, and 26% of them put the blame on victims. As many as 24% of interviewees would advise the victim to avoid conflict and defuse the situation with humor, while 22% of them would advise the victim to resign. The number of those who suggest taking more reasonable steps – seeking help from their principal or a lawyer – falls below 20%. The authors of the study observe that by and large Russian people do not believe that harassment and mobbing deserve serious consideration.

At the national level, sociological research on harassment reveals a widespread tendency to assume that it is the victim who provokes the harasser (by means of a certain behavior, make-up, clothing, etc.) and that harassment and even violence is either a logical outcome of or a fair punishment for this.[5]

Some differences have been found in the general attitude towards this issue when it comes to the harasser’s gender. A male harasser is treated with sympathy and considered just slightly too ‘passionate’ or too playful, while a female one would be accused of acting with impudence. This aspect shows that the traditional perception of women as ‘the root of all evil’[6] is still widespread in Russia despite all the political, economic and social changes that took place in the last century.

In today’s Russia the victim’s reaction to harassment is usually a passive one. People prefer to keep this embarrassing experience to themselves or to resign if things go too far. An intention to resist, to protect the victim’s rights and/or to sue the harasser is often perceived as a strange and disproportionate reaction to a minor issue[7].

It would have been interesting to compare these results with those concerning harassment against men. It would have been likewise interesting to investigate the relations (if any) between the statistics on harassment and mobbing, being them considered as two different forms of workplace violence. Unfortunately, no comparable studies have been found and there are reasons to believe that they do not exist at all. Apart from some scattered research projects[8], the data on mobbing and harassment come primarily from the press. A newspaper article is published from time to time considering a particular group that has become the target of male harassment (taxi drivers, chauffeurs, accountants, bodyguards, mid-level managers)[9] or a mobbing occurrence in a particular sector (the army, the office, and so forth)[10]. Newspaper articles usually contain an overview of the opinions of various stakeholders on the problem, which vary from legislative initiatives to amend the Criminal Code - which still lacks some necessary provisions, for instance those allowing to protect men from being raped – to skeptical comments reflecting the widespread belief that the problem has been greatly and groundlessly exaggerated[11].

 


 

[1] For instance, a more or less consistent case law on sexual harassment emerged in the USA as early as in the XIX century, while the relevant legislation was developed in 1970’s. Research on mobbing as a psychological phenomenon dates back to H. Leymann’s works published in 1980’s. See also R.B. Siegel, A short history of sexual harassment, in C.A. MacKinnon, R.B. Siegel (eds.), Directions in sexual harassment law, Yale University Press, 2003, 1-39, and H. Leymann, Mobbing and psychological terror at workplaces, in Violence and Victims, 1990, vol. 5, 119-126 (where reference is made to the first studies on this topic).

[2] O.I. Osipova, Vzaimosvyaz organizatzionnoi kultury i fenomena harassmenta (Interrelation between organizational culture and the harassment phenomenon), in Chelovecheskiy capital (Human capital), 2012, no. 12(48), 28-30, http://www.imtp.ru/upload/medialibrary/1d0/1d001c5446d6033dead95e79694a8c44.pdf (accessed May 05, 2013).

[3] Based on the analysis of the papers published in Russian since 1990 (and collected in the Russian State Library databases: http://www.rsl.ru/ru/s97/s977242/, on the Federal Legal Portal “Jurudicheskaya Rissiya” (“Juridical Russia”): http://www.law.edu.ru/search/search.asp?docType=0 and in the Russian Index of Scientific Citation (RINTZ): http://elibrary.ru/project_risc.asp). The analysis took into account the variations in the Russian terminology used in different contexts and branches of science.

[4] See: O. Stuchevskaya, Harassment i rossiyskie jenschiny (Harassment and Russian women), in Vestnik obschestvennogo mneniya (Public opinion bulletin), 2008, no. 4(96), 43-49, http://ecsocman.hse.ru/text/33513026/ (in Russian, accessed April 28, 2013). This Bulletin is published by “Levada-Center”, a major Russian nongovernmental center of sociological and marketing research: http://www.levada.ru/. A presentation of the statistical outcomes of the same joint research project is available in English at the CSIS website: http://csis.org/files/media/csis/events/081208_csis_gender_presentation.pdf. In this paper, I use the findings of this almost unique research project as one of the major statistical and sociological sources.

[5] O. Stuchevskaya, op.cit.

[6] See f.i.: Ph. Vivian, The churches and the modern thought, London, Watts, 1911, 277-286 (in particularly, citations on p. 284).

[7] See: ‘Rossiyskie mujchiny sokrushayutsya, chto harassment obhodit ih storonoy’ (‘Russian men grieve that harassment passes them over’). A sociological research conducted by the Research center of the SuperJob.ru website, 08.09.2008, http://www.superjob.ru/community/kollektiv/18364/ (in Russian, accessed May 02, 2013).

[8] O. Stuchevskaya, op.cit.; S.S. Balabanov, Z.H.-M. Saralieva, Seksualnye domogatelstva na rabote v Rossii (Sexual harassment at work in Russia), in Vestnik Nijegorodskogo Universiteta (Bulletin of the Nijniy Novgorod University), 2010, vol. 1, 7-12, http://82.179.249.32:2139/item.asp?id=15142471 (in Russian, accessed May 02, 2013); Ya.I. Alferova, Sravnitelniy analiz socialno-psihologicheskih harakteristik sotrudnikov, podvergayuschihsya mobbing v organizatziyah (Comparative analysis of socio-psychological characteristics of staff members exposed to mobbing in organizations), in Sovremennye issledovaniya socialnyh problem (Modern Research in Social Problems), 2012, vol. 11(19), 42-50, http://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=18763977 or http://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/sravnitelnyy-analiz-sotsialno-psihologicheskih-harakteristik-sotrudnikov-podvergayuschihsya-mobbingu-v-organizatsiyah (in Russian, accessed April 29, 2013); etc.

[9] See: D. Prihodko, ‘Shef, trogay!’ Taksisty prosyat zaschitit ih ot seksualnyh domogatelstv passajirok (‘Chef, get going!’ Taxi drivers demand a protection from being sexually harassed by female passengers), in AiF St Petersburg newspaper, 26.03.2013, http://www.spb.aif.ru/society/article/56070 (in Russian, accessed April 28, 2013).  See also: Z.A. Hotkina, Mujchiny – jertvy seksualnyh domogatelstv (Male sexual harassment victims), Center for Social and Labor Rights (CSLP), http://trudprava.ru/index.php?id=1534 (in Russian, accessed April 29, 2013).

[10] G. Bryntzeva, Mobbing dik, in Rossiiskaya gazeta. Federalniy vypusk (Russian Newspaper. Federal Issue), 2010, no. 5139(60), http://www.rg.ru/2010/03/24/mobbing.html (in Russian, accessed April 29, 2013). The article presents an interview with a director of the Clinical psychology department of the Scientific Center of Mental Health of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.

[11] D. Prihodko, op.cit.