Psychological harassment


Psychological harassment (or mobbing) is defined as a series of hostile comments or actions, repeated frequently over a fairly long time, which aim to upset, isolate, marginalise or even exclude one or more people in the place where they work or study.


Psychological harassment is not tolerated at the University of Lausanne under any circumstances.


Examples of psychological harassment

  • Repeated and unjustified criticisms and denigration
  • Ridicule and humiliation
  • Assigning tasks that are far below someone’s skills, or obviously too complex
  • Refusal to assign any tasks at all
  • Refusal to engage, resulting in isolation
  • Unwanted contact and communications, at work or elsewhere
  • Breaches of privacy


What is not psychological harassment

  • Managerial actions carried out in accordance with procedures and without any violation of the personal rights of the person concerned
  • A one-off instance of aggression or conflict
  • Normal workplace constraints
  • Poor working conditions, without any intention to cause harm
  • Stress, which may be an indicator of harassment but is not proof of it

Cyber-bullying involves repeatedly making threatening, hateful, insulting or degrading comments – either by using images or in writing – using communications technologies (social media, forums, text messages, chats or emails), with the aim of hurting, threatening, humiliating, ridiculing or excluding someone.


Cyber-bullying can be a form of psychological harassment or, if there are sexual connotations, sexual harassment.


Examples of cyber-bullying

  • Insults
  • Threats
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic or similar remarks or jokes
  • Spreading false rumours
  • Distributing hurtful, fake or naked photos or videos
  • Creating fake profiles with hurtful content

Acts classed as proven psychological harassment 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.

Legal bases
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