Top Turkish court sets precedent in favor of mobbing victim

Top Turkish court sets precedent in favor of mobbing victim

Top Turkish court sets precedent in favor of mobbing victim

Members of a retired sergeants’ association march against mobbing in the capital city of Ankara. DHA photo

A top court ruling is likely to set a precedent for future mobbing cases in Turkey, as it made clear that it is the employer, rather than the employee, that must prove that harassment did not take place.

A banker whose contract was annulled by a bank in İzmir, for which he worked from 1994 to 2010, filed a complaint demanding non-pecuniary damages and overtime payment. He also suggested that he was harassed at his workplace.

The İzmir 10th Labor Court initially rejected the complainant’s file, arguing that there was no strong evidence showing that his personal rights and health suffered from a systematic, psychological and grave attack.

The complainant then appealed the İzmir court’s decision, and the file was eventually sent to the 22nd Chamber of Law at the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The 22nd Chamber quashed the local court’s decision by a majority of votes, Anadolu Agency reported on April 16.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court stated that there was no need for a grave violation of personal rights to prove harassment, as injustice against personal rights was enough to prove harassment.

“In addition, in claims of harassment, evidence beyond reasonable doubt is not sought. It is enough for the complainant worker to put forward facts that will raise concerns that they might have been exposed to harassment. The burden of proof that harassment did not place at the workplace falls on the shoulders of the defendant,” the ruling added.

According to the 22nd Chamber, claims of harassment are proven after sufficient evidence when witness testimonies, health reports, expert reports, camera footage and all other evidences are assessed.

However, the local court ignored this fact in its initial ruling, and therefore had to be quashed, the Supreme Court’s 22nd Chamber stated.