SEXUAL HARASSMENT

An act to be constituted as sexual harassment does not have to be sexual. Sexual harassment is any form of unwelcome sexual behavior that’s offensive, humiliating or intimidating. It can be written, verbal or physical, and can happen in person or online. It includes:

  1. Making physical contact without a person’s consent
  2. Making comments that have sexual meaning
  3. Asking for sexual favors
  4. Staring at someone
  5. Making sexual gestures
  6. Insulting with sexual comments
  7. Cracking sexual jokes
  8. Sexual assault

AFFECTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

  1. Depression
  2. Stress
  3. Sleep problems
  4. Headache
  5. Lack of confidence and self esteem
  6. Lack of concentration

WHAT CAN BE DONE

  1. Be informed
  2. Talk to the offender
  3. Save any evidence
  4. Keep a diary
  5. Get external information and advice
  6. Tell someone
  7. Make a formal complaint

SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal )  Act, 2013 It seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work. It was passed on 3 September, 2012 by Lok Sabha. It was passed on 26 February, 2013 by Rajya Sabha. The act came into force on 9 December 2013.

The introductory text of the Act is:

An Act to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

WHEREAS sexual harassment results in violation of the fundamental rights of a woman to equality under articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India and her right to life and to live with dignity under article 21 of the Constitution and right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business which includes a right to a safe environment free from sexual harassment;

AND WHEREAS the protection against sexual harassment and the right to work with dignity are universally recognized human rights by international conventions and instruments such as Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, which has been ratified on the 25th June, 1993 by the Government of India;

AND WHEREAS it is expedient to make provisions for giving effect to the said Convention for protection of women against sexual harassment at workplace

COMPENSATION DETERMINATION

It is based upon:

  1. The mental trauma
  2. Pain
  3. Suffering
  4. Emotional distress
  5. Medical expenses incurred
  6. Loss in the career opportunity

DUTIES OF EMPLOYER

  1. Provide a safe working environment
  2. Display the penal consequences of sexual harassment
  3. Organize workshops and awareness programs at regular intervals for sensitizing the employees with the provisions of the Act
  4. Deal with the complaints
  5. Treat sexual harassment as a misconduct

CIRCUMSTANCES

The Act also provides the circumstances under which an act may amount to sexual harassment. These are:

(i) Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment; or

(ii) Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment; or

(iii) Implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; or

(iv) Interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her; or

(v) Humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety

CONCLUSION

Sexual harassment rate at workplace is high in India. There is a need to provide positive and safe environment at workplace. Security at work must be provided, New strategies should be made by the employers and managers to protect the organization from this evil. Separate laws should be made. a law dealing with sexual harassment would provide women immense support in their struggle. Women should not accept anything as it is because now it’s the time to speak out against all the injustice done to them.