The law to make work place sensitive toward gender is in place but it still has a long way to go
Jasleen Kaur | January 16, 2015 | New Delhi
Even more than a year after the law on prevention of sexual harassment of women at workplace was enacted, most of the organisations are still struggling with the challenges of dealing with harassment and gender sensitisation.
To create a sense of understanding on the subject and to make the office environment more gender sensitive, eminent lawyer DP Singh and his team from Legal Audit Inc, a law firm which advises companies on structuring harassment policy, explained the law that aim to create better and safer workplaces for women. The law firm has investigated cases linked to sexual advances at work place.
Earlier there were the Vishaka guidelines, for use in cases of sexual harassment, formed by the supreme court. These guidelines were later superseded in 2013 by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act.
Singh, who has conducted a series of gender sensitisation workshops, touch upon a variety of issues including creating awareness about employees' rights to protect them from sexual harassment and creating a conducive environment for women. He said that even today most of the Indian businesses are unable to comply with the new law.
He explained the law and what all constitutes harassment. Here are a few things you need to know:
What is sexual harassment at the workplace?
It refers to verbal or physical activity which may or may not be sexual, performed in workplace by a boss, manager, employee, client or customer of a working unit, that is unwelcomed by the person receiving it and has caused the person to feel violated, insulted, or made it an unbearable hostile environment.
What is the definition of law?
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013. The Section 2 (n) says sexual harassment “includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication) namely:- physical contact and advances; or a demand or request favours; or making sexually coloured remarks; or showing pornography; or any other unwelcome physical verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
What is the Section 3 of the Act?
“No woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any work place – implied or explicit promises of preferential treatment in her employment; implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment; implied or explicit threat about her present of future employment status; interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her or humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.”
What are the forms of sexual harassment?
It can be verbal, physical, visual and psychological harassment.
What are the duties of Employer?
What are the penalties?
What are the mechanism for redressal and enquiry process?
What is the policy compliance?
Every company should have a policy which broadly covers the following:
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