Violence and Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

The Robert Bosch Stiftung follows a zero-tolerance policy for both violence and sexual harassment. This applies to the internal work environment and the protection of the Foundation’s employees as well as to our work with partners, for example as part of joint projects. With prevention and an extensive catalogue of measures in place, we do everything in our power to prevent violence as well as sexual misconduct, abuse, and harassment and to respond rapidly to any assaults. To this end, the Foundation has created a policy that outlines our understanding of and the consequences for any violations. The policy is the basis for our internal work and is also part of our Code of Conduct. We likewise expect our partners to adhere to this policy and to uphold a working relationship based on respect and trust.

Policy content

What do we mean by violence and sexual harassment?  

Violence can take different forms, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as well as neglect. Violence can also manifest in restricting a person’s freedom of movement or limiting their contact with others.   

Sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical acts, gestures, or other conduct of a sexual nature that may be reasonably understood or viewed as offensive or demeaning to the person involved. Sexual harassment is an extremely serious issue because it can, for instance, interfere with work and create an intimidating, hostile, or toxic environment.   

How do we prevent violence and sexual harassment? 

The Robert Bosch Stiftung takes systematic precautions across all areas of its operations to identify and prevent risks of violence, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment. The topic is also included in the Foundation’s Code of Conduct, while regular employee training helps to ensure the topic retains a profile in the long term. 

We are aware of the difficulties victims of violence and sexual harassment face in reporting or disclosing assaults. We also understand that professional and personal concerns and fears may prevent them from doing so.

We offer a safe space for affected individuals to come forward regarding instances of violence or sexual harassment in the form of a low-threshold, confidential reporting process. 

For this to work, we put the rights and protection of the victim first. Our measures include: 

  • Strengthening the rights of those affected by violence and sexual harassment,
  • Improving initial medical and psychological care,
  • Strengthening our principles, and 
  • Putting additional protection in place for those affected by or witness to abuse.

How does our reporting system work?

We want to ensure that all cases of violence and sexual harassment are reported. As such, we have adapted our internal procedures accordingly and offer victims a number of channels to do so. 

To protect both those reporting and those affected, we systematically update our processes and offer a system which involves engaging with an internal intervention officer. Choosing to work with the intervention officer is entirely voluntary. It is the officer’s job to ensure that colleagues do not suffer any repercussions as a result of reporting misconduct or cooperating in an official investigation or inquiry, and that all cases can be settled through an attempt at mediation. 

Should internal allegations prove true, any employee who has committed an act of violence will have their employment terminated in line with our zero-tolerance policy. Employment is generally also terminated in cases of sexual harassment. In both cases, the employees in question are also banned from future employment with the Foundation.

Support for victims of violence and sexual harassment

We are further developing victim safeguarding and offer those affected both psychological and medical support as well as measures to help them reintegrate into the workplace.

What does this mean for our work with contractual partners?

The Robert Bosch Stiftung, in cooperation with its partners, is deeply committed to preventing violence and sexual harassment. To minimize risks and meet our responsibilities, our zero-tolerance policy for violence and sexual harassment also extends to our cooperation with contractual partners.