“We’re starting to see the broken pots of the startup nation” (Elise Vaping, attorney)

La Tribune – Since the end of December, Balance ta Instagram account has conveyed, anonymously, compelling testimonies about working conditions and acts of moral and sexual harassment at several French tech startups. Why is this freedom of expression in startups?

ELISE VAPING – Work harassment is a global problem that affects all sectors of the economy. Why startups and why now? I think for a long time, we have improved in startups. The “emerging nation” was synonymous with modernity, “brilliant”, new methods of agile management, and more authentic human relations in the service of a project full of meaning. But cold varnish is cracking today. Balancing your startup, the equivalent of starting a Balance account that your agency set up last year that denounced harassment in the online and advertising world, is a real cry for freedom of expression. Because startups have codes, company culture, and a very specific work environment, which can also create conditions for harassment.

The various files my company has processed in this sector reveal the sometimes unhealthy porosity between work and private life. There is no longer a barrier. The required investment and commitment bonds between employees and founders are so strong that many toxic, friendly or romantic relationships, and situations of influence, develop.

An employee’s commitment almost always involves a voluntary part that overlooks the labor law. Otherwise in reality, the cute founder at the helm of a startup, who is your age, builds his value while you are just an employee. The relationship of economic dependency distorts the human relationship. Lots of people tell me ‘We were very friends and then it was crookedPeople are valued at first, but then, as the company grows, the “friends” atmosphere often shatters the real thing.

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Read also: Startups: Three Tips for Defending Yourself in Case of Harassment

What is your role in this movement?

I’m not out of the initiative but I’m using this platform to provide free legal advice by making a “live” action on your Libra startup account, with my collaborators Marion and Faustine. Each “Mubasher” movie is devoted to a topic – traditional break, women’s rights at work, going to court, moral harassment … – and I answer netizens’ questions. My passion is to make business law accessible and understandable to as many people as possible. My goal is to help victims of harassment at work by giving them the tools to improve their situation or leave their jobs, without necessarily having to hire a lawyer. The success of these “live” shows, which reveal a real need, sometimes surpasses me by tens of thousands of views. Since the beginning of January, I’ve had thousands of …

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