Survey reveals harassment worries at EU cyber agency
More than 40 percent of workers surveyed at the EUs cybersecurity agency reported concerns about psychological harassment and almost a third were worried about sexual harassment, according to an internal report obtained by POLITICO.
The staff survey at the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), which has offices in the Greek cities of Athens and Heraklion, found that 44 percent of respondents are concerned about “emotional strain” and 43 percent are concerned about psychological harassment. Forty-one percent expressed concern about “feeling safe” at the agency, 32 percent cited mental strain and 30 percent voiced concern about sexual harassment.
The agency “is very concerned about the results and is taking serious measures to detect, prevent and react to any type of harassment in the workplace,” ENISA Executive Director Udo Helmbrecht said in a statement to POLITICO.
EU agencies are among many organizations around the world whose record on harassment has come under greater scrutiny following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Last summer the executive director of EASO, the EUs asylum agency, José Carreira, stepped down amid allegations of staff harassment, including “psychological violence” and an investigation by the blocs anti-fraud office, OLAF. POLITICO reported that OLAF uncovered a range of wrongdoing at the agency, from breaches of procurement rules to harassment of staff members. Carreira rejected the allegations against him.
José Carreira, the former executive director of the EUs asylum agency | Domenic Aquilina/EPA via Getty Images
Also last year, a POLITICO investigation found that three male staff at the EUs gender equality agency faced sexual harassment complaints in 2014. Two of the complaints were upheld and resulted in departures from the organization.
At ENISA, the management board were informed of the survey findings at a meeting last month, Helmbrecht said. “This is being discussed with the staff and management,” he added, noting that a number of measures had already been introduced, such as a program of annual mandatory training, support from an external assessor to work with staff and management, and a dedicated page on the agencys intranet with relevant information.
A total of 41 people responded to the survey, out of 68 ENISA workers invited to take part. In the report, the Dutch firm that conducted the survey, GNKS, said the results “cannot be considered representative for ENISA as a whole” but “the group of respondents is big enough for the results to be indicative for appreciation or concerns relating to working for ENISA.”