Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act Promoting safe workplaces for Indian women Powered by
1. The Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act seeks to protect women employees from unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication).
2. This bill covers women employees in the government as well as private sector. This bill holds validity all over India. What is the Act?
3. The implied or overt promise of preferential treatment in her employment. The implied or overt threat of detrimental treatment in her employment. The implied or overt threat about her present or future employment status. Conduct of any person which interferes with her work or creates an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her. Humiliating conduct constituting health and safety problems for her. What Does the Act Outlaw? No woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace which may include, but is not limited to –
4. How Does the Bill Define Sexual Harassment?
• Physical contact and advances.
• A demand or request for sexual favours.
• Sexually coloured remarks.
• Showing pornography.
• Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
5. What are the Channels for Reprisal?
• Every employer who heads an organisation with more than 10employees is required to set up an Internal Complaints Committee, headed by a woman.
• For employers with less than 10employees and other organisations that do not fall under the above classification, a Local Complaints Committee will be set in each city ward and rural area.
• Any complaint which is submitted to the committee in writing must finish inquiry within 90 days.
6. What is the Complainant Entitled to?
(I)During the period of inquiry into a written complaint, the complainant’s employer may be required to:
• Transfer the aggrieved woman or the respondent to any other workplace.
• Grant such other relief to the aggrieved woman as may be prescribed.
· The leave granted to the aggrieved woman under this section shall be in addition to the leave she would be entitled to otherwise if the case is proved.
7. If the charge of sexual harassment is proved by the investigating committee, then the employer or District Officer must, upon their recommendation:• Take action against the respondent(person being complained against) and penalise them appropriately as per the organisation’s service rules.• Deduct a sum of compensation from the salary of the respondent. This is to be paid to the aggrieved woman or her legal heirs.What is the Complainant Entitled to? (II)The employer or the District Officer must act upon the investigating committee’s recommendation within sixty days of receiving it.
8. The compensation paid to the aggrieved woman is determined on the basis of • The mental trauma, pain, suffering and emotional distress caused to the aggrieved women.• The loss in the career opportunity due to the incident of sexual harassment.• Medical expenses incurred by the victim for physical or psychiatric treatment.• The income and financial status of the respondent and feasibility of such payment in a lump sum or instalments.How is the Compensation Decided?
9. Every employer must -• Provide a safe working environment• Display the order constituting the InternalCommittee in a prominent place.• Regularly undertake workshops to sensitise the employees regarding the provisions of this Act.• Provide necessary facilities to theInternal Committee or the LocalCommittee, for dealing with the complaint and conducting an inquiry.What are the Duties of the Employer? (I)
10. Every employer must also:Assist in securing the attendance of respondents and witnesses before the investigating committee.Make relevant information about the complaint available to the committee. Provide assistance to the woman if she chooses to file a complaint under theIndian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force.Take action against the perpetrator after the conclusion of the inquiry.What are the Duties of the Employer? (II)
11. • If the investigating committee concludes that the complaint is false, it may recommend to the employer or the DistrictOfficer to take action against the woman or the person who has made the complaint.
• A mere inability to substantiate a complaint or provide adequate proof need not be treated as a false complaint.• The malicious intent or falsehood on part of the complainant must be established after a proper inquiry before any action is recommended.What if the Complaint is False?
12. Thank You for Promoting safe workplaces for Indian women.This legislation seeks to provide a safe and enabling environment every woman, irrespective of her age or employment status (other than domestic worker working at home), free from all forms of sexual harassment by putting the onus of her safety on her employer and the proper legal authorities.