(Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act(the SH Act),2013)
Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome act or behaviour (whether express or implied), such as:-
Sexual harassment at workplace can take various forms. It can involve conduct such as:
Sexual harassment of workplace is of two kinds:
Quid pro quo is a Latin term which literally means ‘this for that’.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment means subjecting a woman to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on account of the following:
Creation of a hostile, intimidating or an offensive work environment with the purpose of unreasonably interfering with woman’s work performance or subjecting woman to humiliating treatment likely to affect her health and safety.
A sexual behaviour only becomes sexual harassment at workplace only if it is unwelcome to the woman who is in receipt of such behaviour.
Here, student means a woman above 18 years of age. Those who are under 18 years of age can lodge an FIR under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
No. The act does not necessarily have to occur at workplace only. It could occur in any of the following places:
If you feel comfortable in approaching the harasser yourself, you could directly tell the perpetrator that you find his behaviour unwelcome or inappropriate and ask him not to repeat. Or
You can approach the Internal Complaints Committee established within your organization under Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (the SH Act), 2013 with a written complaint. Or
In case, your organisation does not have ICC or if you want to make a complaint against the employer himself or if you work in the capacity of domestic help, then you can lodge your complaint with Local Complaints Committee established in your respective district under the SH Act. Or,
You can contact the nearest police station to lodge an FIR against the perpetrator.
Every organization has to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) having following members
If the organisation has workplaces located at different places or division or sub-division level, then ICC will be constituted at every workplace.
The State Government will notify the District Magistrate/Additional District Magistrate/ Collector/ Deputy Collector as District Officer in every district, who will constitute a Local Complaints Committee (LCC) so as to enable women in the unorganised sector or small establishments to work in an environment free of sexual harassment. The LCC will have following members:
As per the Act, the employer is obligated to display the order constituting ICC at any conspicuous place in the workplace. However, if this is not done, then one can contact the employer/head of the department/human resource department to obtain information about the ICC constituted under the SH Act.
For locating LCC or one of its members, one can adopt following measures:
Non constitution of Complaints Committee is punishable with a fine of Rs. 50,000/- and repeat offenders will be punished with cancellation/withdrawal of licence/registration required for carrying on business activities. The aggrieved can approach the court to complain about the same.
Aggrieved Women Herself, or
In case of physical incapacity
In case, aggrieved woman is unable to submit written complaint, the Complaints Committee will provide her all assistance so that the complaint could be submitted in written form.
Further, if the Complaints Committee is satisfied, it can extend the time limit for submission of complaint (not exceeding three months), however the reason for such exentsion will be recordedin writing.
The Complaints Committee (ICC/LCC) will conduct an inquiry into the complaint by calling all the concerned parties i.e. complainant, respondent [the person(s) against whom complaint is being made], witnesses etc. Later, on the basis of the testimonies of the concerned parties and evidences (documentary or otherwise) gathered, the Committee will frame its findings, which will be shared with the employer.
If the Committee comes to the conclusion that the allegations against the respondent are genuine, it shall recommend action that needs to be taken by the employer against such person. However, if the Committee concludes after inquiry that no case is being made against the respondent, it shall recommend that no action to be taken against the respondent.
During the inquiry, at the written request of complainant, ICC can provide following interim reliefs to the complainant:
Yes, the SH Act envisages a time bound inquiry which needs to adhere to following timelines:
|Submission of Complaint||Within 3 months of the last incident|
|Completion of Inquiry||Within 90 days|
|Submission of Report by ICC/LCC to employer/DO||Within 10 days of completion of the inquiry|
|Implementation of Recommendations by employer||Within 60 days|
|Appeal||Within 90 days of the recommendations|
The Act prohibits the disclosure of:
Breach of confidentially will invite a penalty of Rs. 5,000/- which will be collected by the employer
Exception: Dissemination of information regarding the justice secured without disclosure of name, address, identity and particulars of complainant or witnesses
Yes, a woman if she chooses to do so may both file the FIR with the police and complaint with Complaints Committee simultaneously.