- 1. The Sexual Harassment of Women at WorkplacePrepared by: Manila Sarkaria, Advocate
2. Protection Against Sexual Harassment – Indian Laws The Constitution of IndiaThe Indian Penal Code, 1860Vishakha & others v State of Rajasthan (1997)The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and its Rules 3. Relevant provisionsArticles 14, 15, 19 and 21 Of The Constitution Of IndiaSection 354 A Of The Indian Penal Code : Sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassmentGuidelines stipulated by the Supreme Court of India in Vishaka & Others vs. State of Rajasthan (1997) 4. A welcomed step - The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and its RulesNo woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplacePhysical contact & advances Unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual natureSexual Harassment (Unwelcome acts or behavior) IncludesShowing pornographyA demand or request for sexual favorsSexually colored remarks 5. Circumstances Considered as Sexual Harassmentpromise of preferential treatment in employmentthreat of detrimental treatment in employmentthreat about present or future employment statusinterference with work or creating intimidating /hostile environmenthumiliating treatment, likely to affect health or safety 6. Prevention + Protection + Redressal Providing Safe Working Environment At The WorkplaceSensitizing employees and conducting orientation programmes Constitution of the Internal Complaints Committee and providing necessary facilities for conducting inquiriesAssisting the aggrieved woman 7. Complaints CommitteeLocal Complaints Committee: Grievance redressal body for organisations having no Internal Complaints Committee because of having less than ten employees or where the complaint is against the employerInternal Complaints Committee: Grievance redressal body for establishments employing ten or more employeesInternal Complaints Committee to be appointed by an order in writingAt least half of the membership of the Internal Complaints Committee to be womenInternal Complaints Committee to prepare and submit an annual report to the employer and the District Officer 8. Internal Complaints Committee - Composition Presiding Officer – Senior woman employee from the workplace/other admin units/office/organisations.Internal Complaints CommitteeTwo members - employees – preferably, committed to the cause of women/experience in social work/legal knowledgeOne member from an NGO/other women’s organisation/familiar with issues relating to sexual harassment. 9. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE BEING HARASSEDCommunicate that the behaviour is unwelcomed and must to be stoppedKeep a record of incidents (date, time, locations, possible witnesses, what happened, your response etc.)Discuss or seek counsellingLodge a complaint with the appropriate complaints committeeMay choose to lodge a complaint under the criminal law or any other law for the time being in force 10. Complaint Mechanism (Conciliation) Incident of Sexual Harassment3 monthsComplaint made to the ICC/LCCAggrieved Woman requests for a settlementBeyond 3 monthsSettlement: Reasons for delay to be recorded in writing If Aggrieved Woman does not request for settlement• Not monetaryNo settlementInquiry into complaint• ICC to record settlement and forward to Employer /District Officer & Parties • No further inquiry 11. Complaint Mechanism (Inquiry) 3 monthsComplaint made to the ICC/LCCBeyond 3 monthsReasons for delay to be recorded in writingInquiry, Conclusions & RecommendationsAllegation Proved Misconduct Allegation Not Proved – No action by EmployerAllegation was malicious/false – action against woman/other person Inability to substantiate the complaint/inadequate proof doesn’t not amount to maliceAPPEALIncident of Sexual Harassment 12. Violations & Penalties Failure to constitute Internal Complaints CommitteeFailure to take action w.r.t. Inquiry Report, Punishment for false or malicious complaints & evidence and Annual reportContravention of other provisions of the Act or RulesFine upto INR 50,000/-; subsequent violations: • Twice the punishment of the penalty first imposed • Cancellation of business license 13. Thank YouDisclaimer – This presentation is the work of the author and shall not be reproduced, redistributed, passed on or published, in whole or in part, except by or on the express instructions of the author. The information provided in this presentation is based on the interpretation of laws by the author and does not constitute a legal opinion or advice.