The Belgian Labour Welfare Service has drawn up a formal statement regarding potential wrongdoing by the Deputy Prime Minister (of the N-VA – New Flemish Alliance), Jan Jambon. This follows alleged harassment of an employee at the reception area of his office by security agents. In response, in a joint statement, both the Minister and the female colleague concerned refute any wrongdoing by Jambon, thus explaining why the Minister had not, thus far, become involved in this matter.
The Flemish weekly magazine Dag Allemaal revealed the circumstances yesterday (Tuesday). It is alleged that the victim may have been harassed over several months without either the Minister or officials within his office coming forward and saying anything. Upon the case coming to the SPF Emploi (which amongst other responsibilities, deals with employment matters) it found several breaches and compiled a statement.
The statement has since been sent to the Crown Counsel which is attached to industrial trubunals.
“I wish to stress that it is false to say that the Minister did nothing. My complaint is not directed at the Minister but a number of external security agents,” the colleague concerned explained in the statement.
Following several discussions with her superiors, Jambon’s colleague was appointed to a new position. The Minister himself insists that he took immediate measures. A meeting took place with the security company, which took immediate steps. Nevertheless, the incriminated individuals are still working at the office.
Mr Jambon’s spokesperson says that the written statement points to the absence of a prevention adviser in the office, a problem which it is thought may subsist in the majority of ministerial offices. However, a copy of the document in Dag Allemaal shows that it is an issue of several breaches in respect of which there was “a lack of steps to put an end to violence, harassment or inappropriate sexual behaviour.”
The victim says that she now feels better, even if she sometimes experiences psychological difficulties following the case. She reveals that the publication of information in the press has not helped.