Violations of personal rights

Definition and examples

Violations of personal rights include any breach of an individual right, such as physical and mental health, moral integrity and respect for individual freedoms or privacy. They therefore refer to all the physical, emotional and social attributes associated with a person as a whole.


Examples of violations of personal rights:


  • Mockery, humiliation and insults
  • The person is ignored or isolated
  • The person is ridiculed and false rumours are spread about them
  • They are assigned absurd, inappropriate or insulting tasks
  • Physical threats or violence, assault or sexual harassment


These unacceptable behaviours may be deliberate, unintentional or the result of a failure to act. Nonetheless, regardless of intention, they can all constitute violations of personal rights.

Distinction between a violation of personal rights and sexual or psychological harassment

Any action that is characteristic of sexual or psychological harassment is, by definition, a violation of personal rights. Violations of personal rights can take more serious forms, such as sexual harassment and psychological harassment.

Zero tolerance

The University of Lausanne does not tolerate any violation of personal rights A range of measures has been introduced in response to the various forms a violation of personal rights can take.

How should you respond to a violation of personal rights?

The following internal bodies are on hand to help in the event of a violation of personal rights that is not classed as psychological or sexual harassment (for example, a single incident):


The procedure for making a complaint or filing a report is as follows:


  • If the subject of the complaint is a member of UNIL staff, the case falls under the authority of the Rectorate, which can investigate under the normally applicable rules and impose the corresponding sanctions;
  • If the subject of the complaint is a student or has listener-only status, it can be sent to the Dean, who will forward it to the Rectorate for consideration by the Disciplinary Council;
  • In cases that are covered by criminal law (defamation, libel, slander, insult, threat, physical aggression, sexual coercion or rape), you can file a complaint against the person concerned directly with the police.

Understanding psychological and sexual harassment

Legal bases

Acts classed as violations of personal rights can result in sanctions, ranging from a warning to termination of the working relationship.


The sanctions that can be imposed by the Disciplinary Council against a student or someone who has listener-only status are governed by the University of Lausanne Act (art. 77), which provides for a warning, suspension and exclusion.