• Laura Toncescu, Partner |
  • Irina Stănică, Counsel |
2 min read

The social element of ESG is a broad topic covering a wide range of social issues. These include ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion are paramount in the context of employment relationships.

Emphasising the social elements of an ESG strategy, from a diversity, equity, and inclusion perspective brings many benefits. For example, it enhances a company's reputation, which can help it to attract financing, particularly since an increasing number of investors now focus closely on ethics and morality. Moreover, a company which can demonstrate a strong commitment to improving the lives of its employees by eliminating discrimination and moral harassment in the workplace is an attractive employer for job seekers who prioritise a healthy and supportive work environment.

Policies that prevent discrimination and moral harassment in the workplace and promote a positive work culture will always result in a high social ESG score.

In Romania, the legislative framework on the prevention of discrimination in the workplace requires employers to take all necessary measures to prevent and combat acts of moral harassment, including by setting out disciplinary penalties in the company's internal regulations for employees who commit acts or facts of moral harassment.

Hence the establishment of concrete measures which contribute to the elimination of discrimination and moral harassment in the workplace represents not only compliance with a mandatory requirement established by law, but also at the same time, is a measure to improve a company’s social ESG score.

Consequently, companies need to have concrete measures in place, which are designed to protect employees from discrimination, apply the principle of gender equality and diversity, promote equal treatment and prohibit moral harassment in the workplace.

In addition to clear non-discriminatory recruitment, selection, and promotion policies, specific additional measures might include:

  • Organisation of awareness courses for employees in relation to child labour, slavery and/or human trafficking, moral harassment in the workplace etc;
  • Organisation of personal development training courses which stimulate and improve communication and empathy between employees;
  • Promoting a company culture which supports the idea that employees are valued, listened to and connected to the company's values;
  • Establishing a flexible work schedule to help eliminate "burnout";
  • Transparency in terms of remuneration that confirms equal opportunities between women and men and that women and men are paid the same wage for the same work.

Overall, to apply the social element of ESG effectively and create an inclusive and respectful workplace, companies need to have a strong commitment to drafting and implementing comprehensive HR policies, supported by appropriate documentation, prohibiting discrimination in employment relationships.

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