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Workplace Bullying in Italy. Malicious Intent and Role of Anti-discrimination Law

WP C.S.D.L.E. “Massimo D’Antona”.IT – 399/2019

The paper will be published in F. Marhold, E. Eichenhofer, G. Igl (eds.), Liber amicorum for Maximilian Fuchs, Nomos, Baden – Baden.

Over the last two decades of the 20th century, bullying in the workplace has been the subject of much attention from Italian labour lawyers and courts. The paper provides an analysis and critique of judicial approaches to defining workplace bullying. It focuses on the two main critical aspects relating to the judge-made de?nition, in particular the role played by the malicious intent of the perpetrator of harassment, on the one hand, and that of other typical elements of the notion of bullying developed in case law and by legal scholars, i.e. continuity between the single events. It is argued that, after some significant developments of case law, the concept of bullying in the workplace appears closer to that of harassment/discrimination under EU and Italian legislation, with the practical implication that most sophisticated anti-discrimination protection techniques aimed at countering harassment by employers could be applicable to various kinds of mobbing. This study also considers the dichotomous approach recently adopted by the Italian Court of Cassation, which has also gone far beyond the notion of mobbing in the strict sense and introduced a new and distinct legal category in order to bring the hitherto excluded cases of harassment back into the scope of protection.

author(s): Santagata de Castro, Raffaello
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