Sexual harassment in the workplace-India

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India In India, when the case comes close to deal with the issue of sexual harassment in a workplace, we may first refer to a case law, Vishaka and Ors v State of Rajasthan and Ors. In this case, the Supreme Court of India has laid down the guidelines against sexual harassment in the workplaces. First, the case provides us the duty of the employer or other responsible persons in work places and other institutions.

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It stated that, the employer or persons in charge at the work places or other institutions have a duty to prevent or the commission of acts of sexual harassment. Besides, the employer or the person in charge at the work places or other institutions also have a duty to provide the procedures for settlement, resolution or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment by taking all required steps. Second, the case also defines what amounted to sexual harassment where it includes such unwelcome sexually determined behavior (whether directly or by implication) as (a) sexually colored remarks; (b) showing pornography; (c) physically contact and advances; (d) a demand or request for sexual favors; (e) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. All these shall considered as sexual harassment in situation where if anyone conducted it to the others. Third, the case also provides us the preventive steps, where all employers or person in charge at the work places whether in public or private sector should take appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment. Without prejudice to the generality of this obligation, employers must expressly prohibit of sexual harassment at the work places by notify or publish the rules and regulations at the notice board. The rules and regulations of government and public sector bodies relating to conduct and discipline should include rules and regulations prohibiting the sexual harassment and provide penalties for those who offended the rules. Under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act 1946, the private employers, should take all steps to include the aforesaid prohibitions in the standing orders. Moreover, an appropriate work conditions in respect of work, leisure, health and hygiene at the work places must be provided by the employer or persons in charge. For example, a company must provide the prayer rooms for the Muslims to pray. Under the Indian Penal Code or under any other law, if any employees been sexual harassed, the employer shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with law by making an appropriate complaint with the appropriate authority. In particular, it should ensure that victims or witnesses are not victimized or discriminated against while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment. The right to seek transfer of the perpetrator or their own transfer should be given to the victims of sexual harassment. Therefore, an appropriate complaint mechanism should be created in the employer’s organization in order to put right on the complaint made by the victim.

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