Women Related Legislation

 

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013


Objective: To ensure a safe and secure workplace environment irrespective of her age or employment/work status as a right of every woman.

For whom?
Regular, temporary, ad hoc or daily wager, voluntary worker, contract worker, probationer, trainee, intern, domestic worker, student, women visiting workplace. Basically, ALL women working and visiting workplace.


Where does it apply?

Both organised, unorganised sector, Government organisations, corporations, companies, farms, hospitals, educational Institutions, house, sports facilities, NGOs, cooperative societies, service providers etc.

 

What is sexual harassment?

A behaviour that is UNWELCOME, SEXUAL in nature. A SUBJECTIVE experience where IMPACT matters not intent, like:

  • Making sexually suggestive remarks, offensive comments, jokes, teasing a person’s body or appearance, rumour- mongering about her private life.
  • Inappropriate questions, suggestions or remarks about a person’s sex life.
  • Displaying sexist, offensive pictures, posters, mms, sms, whatsapp, or e- mails, or showing pornography.
  • Intimidation, threats, requests, blackmail around sexual favours.
  • Unwelcome social invitations, with sexual overtones, with or without threats, flirting.
  • Inappropriate physical contact such as touching or pinching, caressing, kissing or fondling someone against her will. (Could be considered assault).
  • Invasion of personal space (getting too close for no reason, brushing against or cornering someone).
  • Persistently asking someone out, despite being turned down. Stalking an individual.
  • Abuse of authority or power to threaten a person’s job or undermine her performance against sexual favours.

Redressal in case of sexual harassment

Who can complain?

Not necessarily the aggrieved person, but also, herfriend, co-worker or any person with the knowledge of incident (with written consent of complainant) can make a complaint.
Whom to complain and what complaint should contain?

  •  Internal complaints committee which is mandatorily set up under the Act, in every organisation.
  •  Local Complaints Committee constituted in every district for women in unorganised Sector, domestic worker or when the complaint is against the employer himself.
  • The written complaint should contain a description of each incident including relevant dates, timings and locations.

Complainant’s rights

  • Her identity to be kept confidential throughout the process. Also, complaints committee shall assist her in lodging FIR in case she chooses so.
  • If the complainant chooses the informal process it can be done by acts like warning the respondent or through conciliation.
  • In case of formal proceedings, while a complaint is pending inquiry, a complainant can make a request for
    her transfer or the transfer of the respondent, or for leave. She can also request to restrain the respondent from reporting on her work performance to prevent ongoing sexual harassment.
  • She can file complaint upto 3 months from the date of harassment and inquiry shall be completed in 90 days. Also, she has right to appeal to the court.
  •  Also, employer can be penalised for not setting up Internal Complaints Committee.