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Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place

The degree of implementation of the guidelines laid down in Vishakha’s judgment
Efficacy as well as the limitations of “The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill ,2010” As passed by Rajya Sabha on 26th Feb 2013
Obstacles in the implementation of laws to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace as well as attempt to discuss solution to remove these hurdles

Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place

  1. 1. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Professor of Law Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 1
  2. 2. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad,Blog: 2
  3. 3. Agenda The objective & Scope of The Law of Sexual Harassment What is Sexual Harassment Reasons of Non-Reporting Cases Some Famous Cases of Sexual Harassment Threats/Effects of Sexual Harassment –Individuals Effects of sexual harassment on organizations Relevant Laws of Sexual Harassment Guidelines laid down by Supreme Court under Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan AIR 1997 (7)SC 323 Data on Sexual Harassment The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2010 passed by Lok Sabha on Sept, 3 2012 and by Rajya Sabha on 26th Feb, 2013 Suggestions to Curb Sexual Harassment Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 3
  4. 4. Objective & Scope To access the degree of implementation of the guidelines laid down in Vishakha’s judgment To evaluate the efficacy as well as the limitations of “The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill ,2010” As passed by Rajya Sabha on 26th Feb 2013 To understand the obstacles in the implementation of laws to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace as well as attempt to discuss solution to remove these hurdles Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 4
  5. 5. Objective & Scope Cont… To find out the malignancy which has further deteriorated the problem of sexual harassment of women at workplace. To find out the flaws in present system which failed to address the malignancy. To find out the possible cure for the malignancy . Dealing with the existing laws that speak about the status of women particularly at workplace? Adequacy of the laws to protect the harassment of women at workplace? Supreme court guidelines in the Vishakha case? Need of an special enactment to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace? Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill 2010. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 5
  6. 6.  Lack of political will and failure of organs of democracy and delay to execute protection laws have led to non- resolution of this issue. Complete enforcement of protection laws coupled with specialized machineries, agencies as well as radical change in attitude of society will address the solution. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 6
  7. 7. What is Sexual Harassment? According to The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill, 2010 (same as laid down in Vishaka’s case) : Sexual Harassment at work place includes unwelcome sexually determined behaviour such as- physical contact and advances; demand or request for sexual favours; sexually coloured remarks; showing pornography; any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 7
  8. 8. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad,Blog: 8
  9. 9. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad,Blog: 9
  10. 10. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad,Blog: 10
  11. 11. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad,Blog: 11
  12. 12. Hostile environment Sexual HarassmentCommon types of conduct that will create a include: Sexual advances Requests for sexual favors; not necessarily as quid pro quo Posting pornographic or suggestive pictures where they may be seen by other employees Sending sexually explicit emails Sexual remarks or innuendoes (for example, asking a married employee about her intimate relations with her husband or continually teasing a male worker believed to be homosexual) Watching a co-worker in a bathroom, locker room or dressing room Physical contact, including sexual assault Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 12
  13. 13. Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Quid pro quo harassment typically occurs when a supervisor makes a request for a sexual favor in return for giving an employee an employment-related benefit: a raise, a promotion or a positive job review, for instance. It may involve a direct or implied threat of retaliation if the employee does not agree to the request. Quid pro quo harassment can consist of a single or numerous sexual advances or demands. Quid pro quo harassment is perpetrated by managers and supervisors. Because the harasser is a representative of the employer, the employer often is held vicariously liable for the supervisors actions. It is not necessary to prove that you were economically harmed by the quid pro quo harassment. It is enough to prove that your supervisor harassed you; that an aspect of your job was conditioned on your response; and the sexual request was unwelcome by you. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 13
  14. 14. Reasons for non reporting: family pressure police attitude social stigma prolonged court trial faulty law implementation various corrupt practices
  15. 15. Some Famous Cases of Sexual Harassment Rupan Deol Bajaj vs. KPS Gill In July 1988, he slapped on her posterior in a dinner official party. Bajaj accused him of indecent behaviour and fought an 8-year legal battle. The hard work paid off. Gill was convicted and SC fined him 2.5 lacs and 03 months rigorous imprisonment u/s 294 and 509 of IPC. N. Radhabai vs. D. Ramchandaran She was secretary to Ramachandran, the then Social Minister for State, raise her voice against his abuse of girls in welfare institution, he attempted to molest her, she was dismissed.
  16. 16.  1986 : S. Mudbhatkal worked as a hostess for Saudi Arabian airlines. Her services with airlines were terminated because she refused to surrender to the sexual demands made by her superior but she filed a suit, she fought for 11 years. In 1997, she was awarded full wages and continuity of services with effect from 1985. Sadly, the airlines appealed to Bombay High Court, which granted a stay. 1994: Doordarshan (Hyderabad) producer Sailaja Suman took director P L Chawla to court on charges of defamation, criminal intimidation and trying to outrage her modesty. She filed two separate cases in the metropolitan magistrates court. Unfortunately, Suman was transferred to Lucknow. Nutan Sharma, a steno in the Union Ministry of Railways, was transferred, following her complaint that R P Sharma, secretary to the Chief Operating Manager, molested her. Alisha Chinais suit against music composer Anu Malik, demanding Rs. 26,60,000 as damages for sexual harassment, met with a similar fate. Malik filed a Rs. 2 crore defamation suit.
  17. 17.  VISHKA’S case: A PIL under Art. 21 Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan & others. (AIR, 1997, SC, 3011) Vishaka was a NGO working for gender equality.
  18. 18. Threats/Effects of Sexual Harassment –Individuals Decreased work or school performance; increased absenteeism Loss of trust, job or career, loss of income Having to drop courses, change academic plans, or leave school. Having ones personal life offered up for public scrutiny Being objectified and humiliated by scrutiny and gossip Defamation of character and reputation Extreme stress upon relationships with significant others. Weakening of support network, or being ostracized from professional or academic circles (friends, colleagues, or family may distance themselves from the victim, or shun him or her altogether) Having to relocate to another city, another job, or another school Loss of references/recommendations Some of the psychological and health effects that can occur in someone who has been sexually harassed: depression, anxiety and/or panic attacks etc.
  19. 19. Effects of sexual harassment on organizations Decreased productivity and increased team conflict Decrease in success at meeting financial goals (because of team conflict) Decreased job satisfaction Loss of staff and expertise from resignations to avoid harassment or resignations/firings of alleged harassers; loss of students who leave school to avoid harassment Decreased productivity and/or increased absenteeism by staff or students experiencing harassment Increased health care costs and sick pay costs because of the health consequences of harassment The knowledge that harassment is permitted can undermine ethical standards and discipline in the organization in general, as staff and/or students lose respect for, and trust in, their seniors who indulge in, or turn a blind eye to, sexual harassment If the problem is ignored, a companys or schools image can suffer Legal costs if the problem is ignored and complainants take the issue to court.
  20. 20. Relevant Laws : Indian Constitution. Indian Penal Code,1860. The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill, 2010. Law of Torts. Vishaka’s Judgment Guidelines. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 20
  21. 21. Sexual Harassment and IndianConstitution Fundamental Rights Art.14: Equality before law Art. 15: Right to non-discrimination Art.15(1): The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them Art. 15(3):The State shall make any special provision in favour of women and children Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 21
  22. 22. Contd…Art. 16(1): Right to equal opportunities in employment to any office under the stateArt. 16(2): No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.Art. 19(1)(g): Right to practice any profession or to carry out any occupation, trade or business.Art. 21: Right to life.Art. 32 : Remedies for enforcement of right. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 22
  23. 23. Contd… Directive Principle of State Policy Art. 42: The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief Fundamental Duties Art. 51-A (a): It is the duty of every citizen to abide by the constitution and respect its ideals and institutions Art. 51-A (e): To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 23
  24. 24. Sexual Harassment and IPC S. 294 deals with obscene acts and songs at public place. S. 354 deals with assault or criminal force against women. S.376 deals with rape. S. 509 deals with uttering words or making gestures which outrages a women’s modesty. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 24
  25. 25. Sexual Harassment and Tort Assault Battery Nuisance Libel Slander Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 25
  26. 26. Indecent Representation ofWomen, Act (1997). 1) If a person harasses another by showing books, photographs, paintings, films etc. containing indecent representation of women then he will be liable with minimum 2yrs. imprisonment. 2) Section 7 of this act punishes companies, if there is indecent representation of women like showing pornography. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 26
  27. 27. Guidelines laid down by Supreme Court under Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan AIR 1997 (7)SC 3231. Duty of Employers/ other responsible persons in work places: Duty to prevent/deter commission acts of Sexual Harassment - Identify the acts that constitutes sexual harassment. -Prohibit acts of sexual harassment at workplace. -Penalize commission of acts of sexual harassment. Duty to provide procedure: - For resolution/ settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment by taking all steps required . Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 27
  28. 28. Contd… As stated by Supreme Court, these guidelines are applicable to: (a) The employer or other responsible persons or other institutions to prevent sexual harassment and to provide procedures for the resolution of complaint. (b) Women who either draw a regular salary, receive an honorarium, or work in a voluntary capacity in the organized sector come under the purview of these guidelines. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 28
  29. 29. 2. Preventive Steps (as laid down inVishakha case) :a)Express prohibition of Sexual Harassment must be notified, published and circulated.b)Government/ PSUs Rules/ Regulations for conduct/ discipline must include rules/ regulations prohibiting Sexual Harassment and provide for appropriate penalties against the offender. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 29
  30. 30. Contd…d) Provision should be made for appropriate work conditions for women. e) Inclusion of prohibition of sexual harassment in the standing orders the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) act, 1946 by the private employers. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 30
  31. 31. 3. Criminal Proceeding Initiate criminal proceeding under IPC if such conduct amounts to specific offence under IPC or any other law. Ensure prevention of victimization and discrimination of victims and witnesses. Provide optional transfer, if the victim feels necessary. ( intrime Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 31
  32. 32. 4.Initiate disciplinary proceeding ‡Where such conduct amounts to misconduct in employment, appropriate disciplinary action should be initiated by the employer. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 32
  33. 33. 5.Complaint MechanismThe complaint mechanism should provide, wherenecessary: A Complaints Committee, A special counsellor or Other support services. There must be strict maintenance of confidentiality. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 33
  34. 34. 6.Complaint Committee Headed by women. Not less than the half members should be women. Includes a third party/NGO. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 34
  35. 35. 7. Worker’s Initiative Employees should be allowed to raise issues of Sexual Harassment at workers meetings, employer and employee meetings & other forums. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 35
  36. 36. 8. Awareness Create awareness of the rights of female employees to be created at workplace. Notified guidelines in suitable manner. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 36
  37. 37. 9. Third Party Harassment Necessary steps to be taken by the employer to assist the victim in terms of support and preventive action. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 37
  38. 38. 10. Central and State government to adopt suitable measure including legislation to ensure these guidelines are also observed by employers in PRIVATE SECTOR.11. These guidelines will not prejudice any rights available under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 38
  39. 39. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad,Blog: 39
  40. 40. The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2010 passed by Lok Sabha on Sept, 32012 and by Rajya Sabha on 26th Feb, 2013 Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 40
  41. 41. Highlights of the Bill The bill covers both organized and non-organized sectors including the armed forces, police and paramilitary, students in schools, patients in hospitals and the domestic workers. The Bill provides protection not only to women who are employed but also to any woman who enters the workplace as a client, customer, apprentice, and daily wage worker or in adhoc capacity. The Bill provides for an effective complaints and redressal mechanism. Under the proposed Bill, every employer (of more than 10 employee) is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee. The Bill provides for setting up of Local Complaints Committee (LCC) to be constituted by the designated District Officer at the district or sub-district levels, depending upon the need. This twin mechanism would ensure that women in any workplace, irrespective of its size or nature, have access to a redressal mechanism. The LCCs (quasi-judicial bodies) will enquire into the complaints of sexual harassment and recommend action to the employer or District Officer. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 41
  42. 42. Highlights of the Bill Cont…. Employers who fail to comply with the provisions of the proposed Bill will be punishable with a fine which may extend to ` 50,000. Repeated non-compliance of the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, can lead to higher penalties and even cancellation of licence or registration to conduct business. The Complaint Committees are required to complete the enquiry within 90 days and a period of 60 days has been given to the employer/District Officer for implementation of the recommendations of the Committee. The Bill provides for safeguards in case of false or malicious complaint of sexual harassment. However, mere inability to substantiate the complaint or provide adequate proof would not make the complainant liable for punishment. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 42
  43. 43. Issues in the Bill 2010 : Need foramendment No provision to protect the men from sexual harassment. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 43
  44. 44. Suggestion to curb sexualharassment Creation of awareness, among women. Eradication of illiteracy among women. Spread of Legal and Constitution literacy among women. Free legal aid to women including free legal advice. Promotion of economic independence of women. Psychological change of men in their attitude towards women. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 44
  45. 45. Contd.. State support to victims of sexual harassment. Creation of department of public awareness for women to promote interaction between women citizens and the state. Creation of a Monitoring agency to ensure enforcement of the legislation intended to protect and promote the rights and interests of women. Positive contribution from the media. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad, Blog: 45
  47. 47. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad,Blog: 47
  48. 48. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad,Blog: 48
  49. 49. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad,Blog: 49
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The degree of implementation of the guidelines laid down in Vishakha’s judgment Efficacy as well as the limitations of “The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill ,2010” As passed by Rajya Sabha on 26th Feb 2013 Obstacles in the implementation of laws to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace as well as attempt to discuss solution to remove these hurdles


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