The fundamental right to moral integrity and the prohibition of degrading treatment in the workplace


In relation to the fundamental right to moral integrity and the prohibition of degrading treatment (art.15 of the Constitution), the Spanish Constitutional Court declares that in order to affirm that there has been a violation of this right, it is necessary to verify, taking into account the circumstances of the case​, the following elements:


a) If the prosecuted conduct is deliberate or, at least, is properly connected to the harmful result (intent element).


b) If it has caused the victim a physical, mental or moral suffering or, at least, had the potential to do so (impairment element).


c) If it responded in order to harass, humiliate or debase or was objectively suitable to produce or actually produced that result (vexation element). If this element is missing, there is no degrading treatment, but the violation of article 15 of the Constitution can only be ruled out if the conduct under trial:

  • it has legal coverage (legality);

  • it responds to a constitutionally legitimate purpose (adequacy);

  • it constitutes the least restrictive alternative (necessity) and produces more benefits over other goods or values ​​than damages in the fundamental right to moral integrity (proportionality in the strict sense).

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