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Häirintä - 23.05.2019 klo 13.00

Sodexo sets an example for others on how to prevent sexual harassment

Sexual harassment has no place in Sodexo's workplaces in Finland. Photo: GettyImages.

Sodexo sets an example for other companies with a new commitment. Sexual harassment has no place in its workplaces in Finland.

PAM's Executive Committee approved in May 2019 the agreement between Sodexo and IUF on prevention of sexual harassment, based on an international framework agreement. The commitment now accepted concerns Finnish operations.

The commitment is based on the Sodexo International Framework Agreement, already signed in 2011, supplemented on June 21, 2017. The Sodexo company and the World Federation of Food, Agriculture, and Hotel and Restaurant Workers, is committed to combating sexual harassment at global level.

According to Markku Björn, PAM's Collective Bargaining Specialist, this is a good example of an international cooperation agreement. According to him, Sodexo is a rolemodel for other companies.

“Generally, the corresponding global framework agreements are general. In most cases, they emphasize the right to be organized and equality issues. However, there is a clear statement on harassment in the workplace,” says Björn.

Although the law bans sexual harassment in workplaces, it still exists. There are guidelines for harassment and bullying in the workplace, but the situation in the services sector shows that they are not enough.

In a survey conducted by PAM in 2015, 45 % of women in the service sector reported having experienced sexual harassment by customers. 16 % of men had been harassed. A special feature of the service industry is that the staff encounters sexual harassment by customers in particular.

Sodexo Oy is a company providing comprehensive space services, including reception, security services and cleaning and dining services. The company employs 11,000 people in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark and has a turnover of over EUR 800 million. The globally operating Sodexo Group employs a total of 460,000 employees in 72 countries around the world.


The initiative for a commitment between PAM and Sodexo to prevent sexual harassment came from Sodex. PAM welcomed this, and entered the commitment, that focuses on Finland's operations.

“Sodexo Oy is committed to sharing information on how to prevent harassment to existing and future employees at the company's workplaces. In addition, the company organizes training for supervisors in accordance with the guidelines,” explains Björn.

The most important thing is that the code of conduct is brought to the staff’s attention and they are given information on how to act in different situations.

”Sodexo Oy has set a good example by raising the issue of sexual harassment as a central theme in the company's internal operations. The company uses multimedia as well in introducing its staff to the workplace, and tells what is suitable and what is not," says Merja Vihersalo, PAM's Work Environment Specialist.

For its part, PAM has agreed to educate and provide information to members to combat sexual harassment.
“For a long time, PAM has trained workers on this topic and made workplace visits. This work will continue,” emphasizes Vihersalo.

Sexual harassment

  • Sexual harassment can be a verbal, non-verbal, or physical sexual abuse that the subject considers undesirable. It either deliberately or unconsciously violates the mental or physical integrity of the subject, especially by creating a threatening, hostile, degrading, humiliating or distressing atmosphere.
  • Sexual harassment can be, for example, touching, jerky or suggestive stuff, proposition, too close to coming, shouting, pictures. It is essential that its target considers it undesirable.
  • The workplace should have a plan and instructions for harassment and bullying. Then the procedures would be ready when the case of harassment emerges. At the same time, the workplace would commit itself to not accepting any kind of harassment or bullying. In this case, all members of the work community would know what is allowed and what is forbidden. At the same time, you could agree on how to proceed when a customer interferes.

uutisen-teksti: Marie Sandberg-Chibani