In Turkey contrast to fines, binding penalties are penalties that involve the restriction of the offender’s liberty in case the offense is fixed. The penalties in Turkey may be related to the penal code in the sense of general law.
Penalties in Turkey
With some amendments, such penalties in Turkey, which are no longer included in individual labour law, are only included in the Turkish Penal Code. Among the offenses defined in the law, especially sexual harassment, invasion of residential inviolability, violation of freedom of work and labour, prevention of the exercise of trade union rights, discrimination and non-compliance with safety rules related to construction or demolition have a close relationship with labour law.
According to Article 105 of the Turkish Criminal Code No. 5237 titled sexual harassment, the person who sexually harasses a person for sexual purposes shall be sentenced to imprisonment from three months to two years or to a judicial fine upon the complaint of the victim, and if these acts are committed by abusing the influence arising from hierarchy, service or education and training relationship or family relationship or by taking advantage of the convenience provided by working in the same workplace, the penalty to be imposed according to the above paragraph shall be increased by half. If the victim had to quit his/her job, leave school or his/her family due to these acts, the penalty to be imposed shall not be less than one year.
According to Article 116 on the inviolability of the dwelling, if the acts falling within the scope of the defined offence are committed in workplaces and their annexes other than the places where it is customary to enter without explicit consent, upon the complaint of the victim, imprisonment from six months to one year or a judicial fine, and if the act is committed by using force or threat or at night, imprisonment from one year to three years will be sentenced.
In the relevant section of the Criminal Code under the title of offences against freedom, violation of freedom of work and labour is defined as an offence in Article 117 and prevention of the exercise of trade union rights is defined as an offence and sanctioned in Article 118. The common provision in Article 199 lists the aggravating factors for these offences.
The aforementioned Article 117. According to Article 117, a person who violates the freedom of work and labour by using force, threat or other unlawful behavior is sentenced to imprisonment from six months to two years or to a judicial fine upon the complaint of the victim, and a person who employs a person or persons for free or for a low wage that is clearly disproportionate to the service provided by exploiting their helplessness, orphanhood and dependence, or who is in this situation, Any person who subjects a person to working and accommodation conditions incompatible with human dignity shall be sentenced to imprisonment from six months to three years or to a judicial fine of not less than one hundred days, and any person who procures or transports or transfers a person from one place to another in order to subject him/her to the aforementioned conditions shall be sentenced to the same penalty.
It is also stipulated that anyone who, by force or threat, forces workers or their employers to reduce or increase wages or to accept agreements under conditions other than those previously accepted, or who causes a work stoppage, termination or continuation of a work stoppage, shall be sentenced to imprisonment from six months to three years.
Article 118 stipulates that anyone who uses force or threats against a person in order to force him/her to become or not to become a member of a trade union, to participate or not to participate in the activities of a trade union, to leave the trade union or his/her position in the management of a trade union, shall be sentenced to imprisonment from six months to two years, and if the activities of a trade union are prevented by using force or threats or by any other unlawful behavior, imprisonment from one year to three years shall be imposed.
In Article 119 titled “Common Provision”, the aggravating factors for the mentioned offences are limited. Accordingly, if the offences in Articles 117 and 118 are committed with weapons, by making oneself unrecognisable, by unsigned letters or special signs, by more than one person together, by taking advantage of the intimidating power created by existing or deemed to exist criminal organisations, by abusing the influence provided by public office, the penalty to be imposed will be increased by one.
Another offense definition related to labour law in the Turkish Criminal Code is included in Article 122 under the title of discrimination. According to the provision of the Article, anyone who discriminates between persons on the grounds of language, race, color, sex, disability, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect and similar reasons, and prevents the sale or transfer of a movable or immovable property or the performance of a service or the benefit from a service, or who links the recruitment or non-recruitment of a person to one of the above-mentioned circumstances, will be sentenced to imprisonment from six months to one year or a judicial fine.
A final provision that seems to be related to labour law is the offense of not complying with the safety rules regarding construction and demolition under Article 176. Accordingly, the person who fails to take the necessary precautions in terms of human life or physical integrity during construction or demolition activities shall be sentenced to imprisonment from three months to one year or a judicial fine.