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Recently the Supreme Court of Appeals handed down some new rulings relating to employment law, particularly in regards to mobbing in the workplace.
What is Mobbing under Turkish Law?
Since it can occur in many forms there is no clear definition under the law for mobbing. Mobbing can take place in many forms and each incident should be analyzed in its own merits to find out if an action can truly be classified as mobbing or not.
While there is no clear definition under the law, the court's decisions made several definitions of mobbing defining its different faces different characters. The main characteristics of mobbing is that it is done by others in the same work place -- usually by superiors or by the command of superiors by other employees -- as a persistent pattern of mistreatment. This mistreatment should also cause some sort of harm to the employee. On other words, mistreatment which does not cause harm -- in other words, if the harm cannot be proven -- may not be classified as mobbing.
If an employee is subject to mobbing, there is just cause to terminate the employment contract for this employee and the employee shall be awarded compensation if the other requirements by the law, such as seniority, are also fulfilled.
Once the mobbing takes place, the employee should file with the employment court after the termination of the contract. In this case, the court will seek evidence from the employee to determine if there is a case of mobbing or not.
Turkish employment law court proceedings are mostly dependent upon witness statements as the nature of the law is not based on the written form.
The court will evaluate the evidence when making its decision. The decision-making process is under the sole discretion of the judge and once the judge is convinced of the facts of the case, the decision can be made. As a general rule, a court case should be proven but one bit of evidence might not be enough to explain the case fully. At this point the judge's discretion comes into the matter and the judge makes his or her decision on whatever evidence exists. To sum up, it is not a must that a case is proven 100 percent. However this matter has not been very clearly stated in Supreme Court decisions up until the recent mobbing decision.
The high court considered that it would be very difficult to prove a mobbing incident in a given workplace, so pure evidence is a must of criminal proceedings but not employment law or civil law proceedings. The judge finally underlined that it is difficult for one single person who suffers harm from mobbing in the work place to provide sufficient evidence and in case of hesitation the ruling should be in favor of the employee.
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