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    Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

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    Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

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    Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

    Parliament of India show

    Long title

    Citation Act No 14 of 2013

    Territorial extent Whole of India

    Enacted by Parliament of India

    Enacted 3 Sep 2012 & 11 Mar 2012 (Lok Sabha)

    26 Feb 2013 (Rajya Sabha)

    Assented to 22 April 2013

    Commenced 9 December 2013

    Legislative history

    Bill Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2013

    Bill citation Bill No 144-C of 2010

    Bill published on 7 December 2010

    Committee report Standing Committee Report

    Status: In force

    The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work. It was passed by the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian Parliament) on 3 September 2012. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament) on 26 February 2013.[1] The Bill got the assent of the President on 23 April 2013.[2] The Act came into force from 9 December 2013.[3] This statute superseded the Vishaka Guidelines for Prevention Of Sexual Harassment (POSH) introduced by the Supreme Court (SC) of India. It was reported by the International Labour Organization that very few Indian employers were compliant to this statute.[4][][5] Most Indian employers have not implemented the law despite the legal requirement that any workplace with more than 10 employees need to implement it.[6] According to a FICCI-EY November 2015 report, 36% of Indian companies and 25% among MNCs are not compliant with the Sexual Harassment Act, 2013.[7] The government has threatened to take stern action against employers who fail to comply with this law.[8]

    Contents

    1 Preamble and background

    2 Background and provisions

    3 Major features 4 Penal Code 5 Criticism 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

    Preamble and background[edit]

    The introductory text of the Act is:

    [9]

    Background and provisions[edit]

    See also: Eveteasing and Sexism in India and America

    According to the Press Information Bureau of the Government of India:

    The Act will ensure that women are protected against sexual harassment at all the work places, be it in public or private. This will contribute to realisation of their right to gender equality, life and liberty and equality in working conditions everywhere. The sense of security at the workplace will improve women's participation in work, resulting in their economic empowerment and inclusive growth.[10]

    This Act was essentially derived from the Vishaka Guidelines. The Vishaka Guidelines were certain procedures to be followed in cases of workplace sexual abuse. These guidelines were formulated after the landmark case This case was brought to the Supreme Court because of the sheer inability of the High Court of Rajasthan to provide justice to Bhanwari Devi who was part of Women's Development Program of the Rajasthan Government. She was brutally gang raped for stopping a child marriage being conducted in a town. This was a part of her duties as a member of the Development Program to stop any illegal activity conducted against children and women. Moreover, this Act uses the definition of sexual harassment laid down by the Supreme Court in

    Article 19 (1) g of the Indian Constitution affirms the right of all citizens to be employed in any profession of their choosing or to practice their own trade or business. This case established that actions resulting in a violation of one's rights to ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Life and Liberty’ are in fact a violation of the victim's fundamental right under Article 19 (1) g. The case ruling established that sexual harassment violates a woman's rights in the workplace and is thus not just a matter of personal injury.[12] This case ruling had issued Vishaka guidelines under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court had made it mandatory that these had to be followed by all origination until a legislative framework on the subject has been drawn-up and enacted.[13] However, the legislative void continued and the Supreme Court in Apparel Export Promotion Council v. A.K Chopra ((1999) 1 SCC 759) reiterated the law laid down in the Vishakha Judgment. Dr. Medha Kotwal of Aalochana (an NGO) highlighted a number of individual cases of sexual harassment stating that the Vishakha Guidelines were not being effectively implemented. Converting the letter into a writ petition, the Supreme Court took cognizance and undertook monitoring of implementation of the Vishakha Guidelines across the country. The Supreme Court asserted that in case of a non-compliance or non-adherence of the Vishakha Guidelines, it would be open to the aggrieved persons to approach the respective High Courts.[13]

    स्रोत : en.wikipedia.org

    The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and the Rules

    The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and the Rules

    The said Act (popularly referred to as POSH Act), became applicable from 23rd April 2013. The Supreme Court in its landmark judgment in Vishaka and others v State of Rajasthan (1997) laid down guidelines for providing a mechanism to redress grievances of sexual harassment in workplace. These guidelines served the basis for the framework of the said Act.

    It is applicable to organized as well as unorganized sector, to government, public and private organizations, hospitals, educational institutions etc. and has a very wide scope.

    Employee also includes temporary, contract labour, trainees and even if working on a voluntary basis.

    As per the Act, any organization having more than 10 employees must have an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). To cater to organizations where employees are less than 10 or if complaint is against employer then the government must set up, Local Complaints Committees (LCC).

    The Act lays down the process for filing complaint and doing inquiry. It also safeguards against frivolous complaints.

    Below is a model draft of a company policy on sexual harassment.

    MODEL DRAFT OF POLICY FOR PREVENTION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT THE WORK PLACE

    1. Title and Commencement

    This Policy will be called (X Y Z company) on zero tolerance to sexual harassment at the work place and shall come into force with immediate effect.

    2. Scope

    This Policy shall apply to all persons employed at the workplace for any work of regular, temporary, ad hoc or daily wage basis. directly or through an agent/contractor, including persons working on a voluntary basis and apprentices, trainees, probationers, agent, including consultants of the Company.

    3. Objective

    The Company firmly believes that every employee has a right to work in an environment free from harassment, intimidation or offensive behaviour and issues of harassment will be resolved without fear of reprisal. The Policy is designed to take effective measure to prevent, prohibit, sexual harassment and have the mechanism to redress cases of sexual harassment and impose punishment for those responsible for sexual harassment.

    4. Policy

    Harassment in any form will not be permitted or tolerated or condoned by the Company whether it is based on a person’s race, colour, ethnic or national origin, gender, real or suspected sexual orientation, religion or perceived religious affiliation, disability or other personal characteristics.

    The use of Company property including e-mail, Bulletin Boards or any document as a vehicle for harassment is prohibited.

    5. Prohibition of Sexual Harassment

    No employee shall engage in Sexual Harassment.

    6. Meaning of Sexual Harassment and Sexually Oriented Behaviour

    ‘Sexual Harassment’, includes any unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, direct or by implication, and includes 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 a sexual nature. Sexually Oriented behaviour shall mean and include but not limited to the following:

    Material that is sexual in nature, sexist, sexually explicit and so on and is displayed in the workplace, circulated, or put in someone’s workspace or belongings, or on a computer, i­-pad, mobile phone, i-phone, blackberry or on any other machine or on the internet or any other public display system or public place in the work premises.

    Verbal abuse or comments that put down people because of their sex.

    Comments about people’s (women/men) bodies.

    Tales of sexual exploits.

    Graphic descriptions pornography.

    Pressure for dates.

    Sexually explicit gestures.

    Unwelcome touching and hugging.

    Sexist and insulting remarks.

    Sexist jokes and cartoons.

    Displaying pornography in the workplace.

    Insisting that workers wear revealing clothing.

    Inappropriate gifts.

    Discussion of one’s partner’s sexual life.

    Lewd and threatening letter

    “Accidentally” brushing sexual parts of the body.

    Pressing or rubbing up against an aggrieved person.

    Indecent exposure.

    Subtle or overt pressure for sexual favour

    Soliciting sexual services.

    Demanding sexual services.

    Sexual or physical contact, such as kissing or touching.

    Intrusive questions about sexual activity.

    Sexual assault.

    Repeated sexual invitations when the person invited has refused/ignored similar invitations.

    Coerced sexual intercourse (e.g., as a condition of employment or academic status).

    “Sexual Harassment” should not be confused with simple friendly behaviour, if these are mutually desired and accepted. The difference between friendly behaviour and sexual harassment is that sexual harassment is an unwelcome act.

    7. Prevention of Sexual Harassment

    No person shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any work place.

    The following circumstances among other circumstances if it occurs or is present in relation to or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment may amount to sexual harassment.

    implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in the persons employment/promotion; or

    स्रोत : www.bcasonline.org

    Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013

    Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013

    Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace

    THE MANDATE

    Today, all workplaces in India are mandated by law to provide a safe and secure working environment free from sexual harassment for all women.

    INTRODUCTION

    The Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act and the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Rules have been enacted 16 years after the Supreme Court of India’s landmark judgement in Vishaka and others v. State of Rajasthan4 (“Vishaka Judgement”). The Supreme Court, in the Vishaka Judgment, laid down guidelines making it mandatory for every employer to provide a mechanism to redress grievances pertaining to workplace sexual harassment and enforce the right to gender equality of working women (“Guidelines”).

    The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act”) was made effective from December 09, 2013 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, India. The Government has also notified rules under the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act titled the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 (“Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Rules”).

    The Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act has been enacted with the objective of preventing and protecting women against sexual harassment at workplace and for the effective redressal of complaints of sexual harassment. The statute seeks to fill the legislative void on the subject and provide every woman, irrespective of her age or employment status, a safe and secure working environment free from all forms of harassment. The year 2013 also witnessed the promulgation of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (“Criminal Law Amendment Act”) which criminalized offences such as sexual harassment, stalking and voyeurism.

    Provisions under The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

    I. Applicability and Scope

    The Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act extends to the ‘whole of India’ and stipulates that a woman shall not be subjected to sexual harassment at her workplace. It is pertinent to note that the statute protects only women and is not intended to be a gender neutral legislation. As per the statute, an ‘aggrieved woman’ in relation to a workplace, is a woman of any age, whether employed or not, who alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment.

    Further, the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act applies to both the organized and unorganized sectors in India. The statute, inter alia, applies to government bodies, private and public sector organisations, non-governmental organisations, organisations carrying out commercial, vocational, educational, entertainment, industrial, financial activities, hospitals and nursing homes, educational institutes, sports institutions and stadiums used for training individuals and a dwelling place or a house.

    Sexual Harassment –Definition

    The Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act defines ‘sexual harassment’ in line with the Supreme Court’s definition in the Vishaka Judgement. As per the statute, ‘sexual harassment’ includes unwelcome

    sexually tinted behaviour, whether directly or by implication, such as:

    physical contact and advances,

    demand or request for sexual favours,

    making sexually coloured remarks,

    Showing pornography, or

    any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature

    Presence or occurrence of circumstances of implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment; threat of detrimental treatment in employment; threat about present or future employment; interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment; or humiliating treatment likely toaffect the lady employee’s health or safety could also amount to sexual harassment.

    Employee

    The definition of an ‘employee’ under the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act is fairly wide and covers regular, temporary, ad hoc employees, individuals engaged on daily wage basis, either directly or through an agent, contract labourers, co-workers, probationers, trainees, and apprentices, with or without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied.

    Workplace

    Recognizing that sexual harassment of women may not necessarily be limited to the primary place of employment, the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act has introduced the concept of an ‘extended workplace’. As per the statute, ‘workplace’ includes any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment, including transportation provided by the employer for the purpose of commuting to and from the place of employment.

    स्रोत : www.indianbarassociation.org

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