Sexual allusions to colleague, Cassation: “Legitimate dismissal”

Even if made in a goliardic atmosphere

Sexual allusions to a colleague justify the dismissal of the workereven if made without the intention of offending e in an atmosphere of goliardia. This was established by the sentence of the labor section of the Court of Cassation published by Studio Cataldi. The judges of Piazza Cavour have in fact rejected the appeal of a worker, employed in a company in Tuscany, against the decision of the Court of Appeal of Florence which confirmed the pronouncement of the court of Arezzo which had declared his dismissal legitimate for “having engaged in conduct consisting of sexual harassment to the detriment of a young colleague newly hired with a fixed-term contract and assigned to work as a bar counter”.

The Court held that the behavior charged against the man, reported on two different occasions by the worker to the company management, consisted of verbal and physical innuendos of a sexual naturehowever unwanted and objectively capable of harming and violating the dignity of the colleague, constituted just cause for the dismissal “nothing noting that the offensive intention was absent and that in general the climate of relations between all the colleagues was often jocular and goliardic”.

In his appeal, the worker had also claimed the unreliability of his colleague, given that the investigating magistrate had filed his complaint for stalking and sexual violence: with respect to this point, the judges considered that “the crime of stalking was extraneous to the facts of the case and the reasons for the dismissal”. The Cassation therefore assessed “that the undesirable nature of the conduct, even if it does not result in actual physical assaults with a sexual content, is integrative of the concept and notion of harassment, this being and the consequent protection granted, based on the objectivity of the behavior held and the effect produced, with the absence of relief of the effective intention to cause an offense”.