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of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment and rape are two sides of the same coin. Both showcase the power of man to dominate that of women. Both have one victim- ‘women’. Both are barbaric in nature; but many people extenuate sexual harassment to rape, just because the victims are not physically harmed. Whereas in rape- the victim is ravished like an animal for the fulfillment of desire and lust of other man. Both have the same object- to undermine the integrity of the victim, physically as well as mentally. Sexual Harassment takes place if a person: Subjects another person to an unwelcome act of physical intimacy, like grabbing, brushing, touching, pinching etc. Makes an unwelcome demand or request (whether directly or by implication) for sexual favors from another person, and further makes it a condition for employment/payment of wages/increment/promotion etc. Makes an unwelcome remark with sexual connotations, like sexually explicit compliments/cracking loud jokes with sexual connotations/ making sexist remarks etc. Shows a person any sexually explicit visual material, in the form of pictures/cartoons/pin-ups/calendars/screen savers on computers/any offensive written material/pornographic e-mails, etc. Engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which could be verbal, or even non-verbal, like staring to make the other person uncomfortable, making offensive gestures, Kissing Sounds, Etc. It is sexual harassment if a supervisor requests sexual favours from a junior in return for promotion or other benefits or threatens to sack for non-cooperation. It is also sexual harassment for a boss to make intrusive inquiries into the private lives of employees, or persistently ask them out. It is sexual harassment for a group of workers to joke and snigger amongst themselves about sexual conduct in an attempt to humiliate or embarrass another person. As Observed By Justice Arjit Pasayat: " While A Murderer Destroys The Physical Frame Of The Victim, A Rapist Degrades And Defiles The Soul Of A Helpless Female." Sexual harassment is all about expression of male power over women that sustain patriarchal relations. It is used to remind women of their vulnerability and subjugated status. In a society where violence against women, both subtle and direct, is borne out of the patriarchal values operating in society, force women?s conformity to gendered roles. These patriarchal values and attitudes of both men and women pose the greatest challenge in resolution and prevention of sexual harassment.
Studies find that sexual harassment is still endemic, often hidden, and present in all kinds of organisations. Yet it is still not always viewed as a problem, which has to be systematically tackled. The issue is of concern for both women and the employers as studies show that sexual harassment touches lives of nearly 40-60% of working women. The question is not whether women have the right to bodily integrity, as this right is already adumbrated under Article.21 of the Constitution of India. Article.21, which guarantees the right to life and liberty to men and women both alike- but whether it is really imperative to take a decisive step towards extirpating this evil and make the contemporary and future society a safe haven for women. According to the official statistics of 1991, one woman is molested every 26 minutes. These statistics refer to the reported cases. Whereas, if the unreported cases were to be included, it would be a matter of seconds- rather than minutes. investigation of Most cases are not reported by victims because of various reasons such as family pressures, the manner of the police, the unreasonably long and unjust process and application of law; and the resulting consequences thereof. In instances where women have reported such illegal and unwelcome behavior, there have been significant victories in the past decade or so. Also considering the fact the sometimes these victories are achieved after a wait of a decade or so. Case study In Rupan Deol Bajaj Vs. K PS.Gill1, a senior IAS officer, Rupan Bajaj was slapped on the posterior by the then Chief of Police, Punjab- Mr. K P S.Gill at a dinner party in July 1988. Rupan Bajaj filed a suit against him, despite the public opinion that she was blowing it out of proportion, along with the attempts by all the senior officials of the state to suppress the matter. The Supreme Court in January, 1998 fined Mr.K P S.Gill Rs.2.5 lacs in lieu of three months Rigorous Imprisonment under Sections. 294 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code. In N Radhabai Vs. D. Ramchandran, when Radhabai, Secretary to D Ramchandran, the then social minister for state protested against his abuse of girls in the welfare institutions, he attempted to molest her, which was followed by her dismissal. The Supreme Court in 1995 passed the judgment in her favour, with back pay and perks from the date of dismissal.
non-verbal. occurs when a coworker. it is not important if the victim gave in or agrees to the offer. In case of a student. In cases of non-verbal sexually harassing conduct an example would be leering. or learning environment in the case of students. posters or cartoons in the . In this type of sexual harassment. Some Deep Rooted Psychiatric Issues Like Persecution Complex. and primarily to do with socialization and psychology. Personal problems can also be a factor. or have been socialized to suffer in silence. Types of sexual harassments Quid pro quo and hostile work environment are the two broad types of sexual harassment Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee is offered to be retained in his/her job or be promoted in exchange for sexual favors. Reasons behind sexual harassment at work can be varied and severely complex. Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment Hostile work environment sexual harassment. on the other hand. lack self confidence. Ill Treatment By Parents Or Relatives In Childhood. hostile or offensive work environment. The person who commits quid pro quo sexual harassment is a person with power to influence the victim's employment or educational situation like a supervisor. are in more vulnerable and insecure positions. Loneliness. it is important to look at some of the underlying causes of this phenomenon. The sexual harassing conduct could be verbal. manager or a teacher in case of a student. staring or glaring at someone.Reason for sexual harassment Sexual harassment is. above all. photographs. Visual sexually harassing conduct on the other hand could be displaying sexually suggestive calendars. manager or supervisor in the work place makes unwelcome sexual advances which interferes with work performance or creates an intimidating. And Experiences Of Physical Abuse Are Known To Cause Negative Behavior At Work. An example would be if a manager suggests that an employee goes out with him on a date or asks for a neck or back rub every so often in exchange for retaining her post or be promoted. In order to understand why women endure the vast majority of sexual harassment. Example of a verbal harassing conduct is when one makes a sexual comment about a person's clothing. anatomy or looks. a manifestation of power relations – women are much more likely to be victims of sexual harassment precisely because they more often than men lack power. the offer is to help receive a good grade or a favorable recommendation in exchange for sexual favors. It is enough that the harasser floats or makes the offer and the victim is not barred from filing a claim if he or she later on changes his or her mind. Extreme Financial Problems Or Death Of A Close One. visual or physical. where harassment becomes a symptom of the effects of life traumas such as Divorce.
over the course of a few months. Physically harassing conduct is when someone gives a massage around the neck or shoulders and the victim did not ask for it and regards it as offensive. one work environment found no legal violation where a woman’s supervisor. subjected to three offensive incidents over 18 months. the finder of fact (a court or jury) considers these factors: • • • • • • The frequency of the unwelcome discriminatory conduct. where women were touched in a sexually offensive manner while in confined workspace. Relatively trivial. or a mere offensive utterance. These examples simply illustrate how severe or pervasive gender-based conduct must be to be legally actionable (and how blurred the line between lawful and unlawful conduct sometimes is). Coca Cola Bottling Co. or subjected to only occasional teasing or isolated crude jokes or sexual remarks. Each factor is relevant – no single factor is required to establish that there is a hostile environment. Sexual harassment was found. called her a “dumb blonde.workplace. When Does an Environment Become Sexually Hostile? To create a sexually hostile environment. The severity of the conduct Whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating. For example. and (2) it must be objectively severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment. Given this uncertainty.) Hostile environment sexual harassment also was not found where women were asked for a couple of dates by co-workers. that a reasonable person would find abusive. In this type of sexual harassment. it would be to the best interest of the victim to secure the services of a lawyer immediately to protect the victim's legal rights. unwelcome conduct based on gender must meet two additional requirements: (1) it must be subjectively abusive to the person(s) affected. subjected to a long pattern of ridicule and abuse on the basis of gender. and Whether the harasser was a superior in the organization.” placed his hand on her shoulder. on the other hand. . Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with work performance. The effect on the employee’s psychological well-being. To determine whether behavior is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile environment. placed “I love you” signs in her work area. even the employer is liable if he has knowledge or should have knowledge of the sexual harassment perpetrated on one of the employees and the employer either does nothing about it or even faulted the victim for the happening of the sexually harassing conduct. (Weiss s. prudent employers will address incidents of unwelcome gender-based conduct long before they approach the level of severity or pervasiveness that would create a hostile environment as legal matter. or forced to endure repeated unwelcome sexual advances. and attempted to kiss her. In both cases. isolated incidents generally do not create a hostile work environment. had asked her out on dates.
such as Section 354. showing pornography. any other unwelcome physical. loss of income Having to drop courses. and social effects of sexual harassment: • • • • • • • • • • • • • Decreased work or school performance.e. headaches. lifestyle. and Section 509. groups of people "evaluate" the victim to establish if he or she is "worth" the sexual attention or the risk to the harasser's career) Defamation of character and reputation Loss of trust in environments similar to where the harassment occurred Loss of trust in the types of people that occupy similar positions as the harasser or his or her colleagues Extreme stress upon relationships with significant others. . and private life will often come under attack. feeling angry or violent towards the perpetrator. IPC deals with “assault or criminal force to a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty. verbal/non-verbal conduct being sexual in nature. fatigue or loss of motivation. physical contact and advances. extreme stress on peer relationships. The critical factor is the unwelcome ness of the behavior. 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. a demand or request for sexual favours. difficulty concentrating. eating disorders (weight loss or gain). sometimes resulting in divorce. increased absenteeism Loss of job or career. anxiety and/or panic attacks. increased blood pressure. alcoholism. sleeplessness and/or nightmares. IPC deals with “word. academic. change academic plans. feeling betrayed and/or violated. feeling powerless or out of control. Being objectified and humiliated by scrutiny and gossip Becoming publicly sexualized (i. According to India's constitution. colleagues. or being ostracized from professional or academic circles (friends." and his or her dress. or leave school (loss of tuition) Having one's personal life offered up for public scrutiny—the victim becomes the "accused. shame and guilt. Common effects on the victims Common professional. or shun him or her altogether) Having to relocate to another city. thereby making the impact of such actions on the recipient more relevant rather than intent of the perpetrator. financial. or relationships with colleagues Weakening of support network. or family may distance themselves from the victim. stomach problems. sexual harassment infringes the fundamental right of a woman to gender equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India and her right to life and live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution. loss of confidence and self esteem.EFFECTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN INDIA Sexual harassment in India is termed "Eve teasing" and is described as: unwelcome sexual gesture or behavior whether directly or indirectly as sexually colored remarks. Although there is no specific law against sexual harassment at workplace in India but many provisions in other legislations protect against sexual harassment at workplace. gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman. another job.
and can lead to a loss of staff and expertise because of resignations to avoid harassment. or turn a blind eye to. increased student turnover as students leave to escape harassment. traumatic stress. a company’s image can suffer amongst clients. hundreds of millions of dollars are lost in productivity because of effects such as employee absenteeism to avoid harassment. Prekel writes. potential customers. and/or decreased participation in school activities. decreased productivity and performance. and the . The Impact In School: In educational environments where sexual harassment is occurring. Health care costs can increase because of the health consequences of harassment. as staff and/or students lose respect for. The increased team conflict also leads to problems with team cohesion and less success in meeting financial goals. their seniors who indulge in. a company's or school's image can suffer Legal costs if the problem is ignored and complainants take the issue to court. and trust in. and discipline in the organization. suicidal thoughts or attempts. sexual harassment. conflict amongst students when harassment is present. as students must focus on. sexual harassment If the problem is ignored.withdrawal and isolation. and increased team conflict in environments where harassment is occurring. suicide 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. post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). staff. ways to deal with the harassment. Every year.” If the problem is ignored. the impact can be similar to that of the workplace: increased absenteeism by students to avoid harassment. “…staff lose respect for. employees. and strategize about. complex post-traumatic stress disorder. The same loss of trust in the ethical standards of a company can also occur at school. 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. not to mention the legal costs if a victim files a lawsuit after complaints are ignored or mishandled. leading students. and trust in. The knowledge that harassment is permitted can undermine ethical standards. parents. or because of resignations or firings of alleged harassers. overall loss of trust in people. or turn a blind eye to.(Boland 1990 The Impact On The Workplace: Sexual harassment has been linked to decreased job satisfaction. or because of the psychological effects of harassment. and the general public. their seniors who indulge in.
or indecision. the institution if nothing is done to improve the situation. Soured Romance Sexual relationships among employees often raise difficult issues as to whether continuing sexual advances are welcome. All of us. Employees have the right to end such relationships at any time without fear of retaliation on the job. the welcomeness of the conduct will depend on the recipient’s reaction to it. however. Some sexual advances (“come here Babe and give me some of that”) are so crude and blatant that the advance itself shows its unwelcome ness. In a more typical case. Conduct is unwelcome if the recipient did not initiate it and regards it as offensive. Only unwelcome conduct can be sexual harassment. and the response leaves open to question whether the conduct was truly unwelcome. but I know that she really meant yes. Consensual dating. fear. It is very difficult for a harasser to explain away offensive conduct by saying.” A second-best approach is for the offended employee to consistently refuse to participate in the unwelcome conduct. At the very least.” The invitation is not inherently offensive. Even if you do not find the conduct personally offensive. and Participated with other in vulgar language and sexual horseplay in the workplace. refuse to participate in the behavior. I have a previous commitment” when what she really means is “no way. so that conduct that once was welcome is now unwelcome. Outright Rejection The clearest case is when an employee tells a potential harasser that conduct is unwelcome and makes the employee uncomfortable. if you find gender-based conduct or sexually oriented conduct offensive. “Not tonight. A woman asked out for a “romantic” dinner by her boss may say. remember that some . Others may be insensitive to the reactions of fellow workers. not ever. joking. A woman who shakes her head “no” and walks away when asked for a date has made her response clear. are not harassment if they are welcomed by the persons involved. sometimes fail to make our true feelings known. for example. it is important that the unwelcomeness of further sexual advances be made very clear. Ambiguous Rejection Matters are more complicated when an offended employee fails to communicate clearly. and touching. Wore sexually provocative clothing and used sexual mannerisms around the alleged harasser. Remember that some offenders may be unaware of how their actions are being perceived. What Not To Do • • • • Invited the alleged harasser to lunch or dinner or to parties after the supposedly offensive conduct occurred. Flirted with the alleged harasser. and trust in. Tell the harasser that the behavior is not acceptable and is unwelcomed by you. you should make your displeasure clearly and promptly known.general public can lose respect for. For these reasons. because of the previous relationship. “She said no. However. for reasons of politeness.
with even more internal reports resulting in either discipline or counseling. even if not told specifically what was done. whether you are the accused employee. Investigations will vary from case to case. you might want to try some self-help techniques. distributed to all employees. using the DO’s and DON’Ts listed below. the complaining one. that contain examples of prohibited conduct and describe procedures for handling complaints. in every case you need to keep certain things in mind. with the present victim or other employees. One comprehensive survey by the American Management Association reported that roughly two-thirds of internal reports result in some kind of discipline being imposed on the alleged harasser. All employees have a responsibility to cooperate fully with the investigation of a sexual harassment complaint. These policies may forbid conduct that falls short of unlawful sexual harassment. especially if that is the person doing the harassing. In the typical situation. It’s important to learn about your own employer’s policy. remember that sexual harassment is an organizational problem. Report incidents immediately. and you may or may not know all the facts. Retaliation against any employee who reports sexual harassment or who cooperates when the employer investigates a claim of sexual harassment is prohibited. you should make a report to the appropriate official. While not very investigation will follow the same format. in the future. Before you report a problem. the employer will keep the information it gathers as confidential as possible. If you do follow these self-help suggestions.of your co-workers might. especially if they are recurring. bear in mind that confidentiality is crucial. If You Are The One Who Is Harassed … If you experience sexual harassment or witness it. depending on a variety of circumstances. Many organizations have written policies. Keep It Confidential First. or merely a potential witness. that contain examples. In determining if your own conduct might be unwelcome. and the employer wants to know about it so it can take prompt and appropriate action to ensure that no further incidents occur. up to and including immediate discharge. consistent with state and . and avoid behavior that is in any way demeaning on the basis of gender. and that the complaining employee will be told whether action has been taken. Two people have their reputations on the line. Employer policies typically provide that any employee found to have violated the policy will be subject to discipline. The employer will want to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of all complaints. Employees who promptly report harassing conduct can help their organization as well as themselves. You do not have to report the incident to your supervisor first. and matters will be kept as confidential as possible. ask yourself these questions: • • Would my behavior change if someone from my family was in the room? Would I want someone from my family to be treated this way? You and your employer share a steak in maintaining a harassment-free work environment.
unless it is truly inoffensive Try to handle any severe or recurring harassment problem by yourself -. The investigator has a duty to be fair to everyone involved and needs as much information as possible. unless it truly is inoffensive Choose to ignore the behavior. The reasons why you did not report the incidents earlier (if you have delayed at all).federal laws. The law protects employees who participate in any way in administrative complaints. As the Complainant If you are making the complaint. The DO’s and DON’Ts of Sexual Harassment Do • • • • Admit that a problem exists Tell the offender specifically what you find offensive Tell the offender that his or her behavior is bothering you Say specifically what you want or don’t want to happen. and Your thoughts on what the employer should do to correct the problem and maintain a harassment-free environment. or for providing information regarding a complaint. A chronology -. Answer the questions completely. The names of everyone who may have had a similar experience with the alleged harasser.” or “please don’t tell that kind of joke in front of me. Be prepared to give the following information: • • • • • The names of everyone who might have seen or heard about the offensive conduct. the investigator will need to know all the details. If you are afraid to cooperate. . for helping someone else complain.get help. you should be very frank about your concerns when talking to the employer’s investigator. such as “please call me by my name not Honey. The investigator man need to talk with you several times while other employees are questioned and information is gathered. unpleasant though they will be to recount.when and where each incident occurred. and employee policies protect employees who honestly participate in in-house investigations. Don’t Be Afraid To Cooperate There can be no retaliation against anyone for complaining about sexual harassment.” Don't • • • Blame yourself for someone else’s behavior. and both the accused and the complainant will have a chance to present their cases.
Such a letter seems to be more . It mobilises public opinion against it. It helps in changing attitudes of people towards this issue. and an account of what happened. the problem becomes visible. Speak up at the time: Be sure to say "NO" clearly. with a strong closing statement: 'You heard me. firmly and without smiling as that is the best way to let the harasser know that his behaviour is offensive. Keep records: Keep track of what happens in a journal or diary and keep any letters or notes or other documents you receive. head up. Ignoring offensive behaviour or denying its existence are the most common ways women deal with sexual harassment. Make it clear that all women have the right to be free from sexual harassment. Other steps employees can take: Speaking out: Speaking about sexual harassment is an effective tool in combating it. and be specific. Such has been the internal coping mechanism. straightforward. Speaking about sexual harassment also gives an opportunity to clarify by this about it. times. Be serious. and this in turn leads one to take effective measures against it. serious stance. Objecting to harassment is a matter of principle. shoulders back. and repeat it if he persists. no insults. Make honest. and detailed. The letter should be polite. direct statements. End the interaction on your own terms. don't pretend it didn't really happen. Hold the harasser accountable for his actions. Don't respond to the harasser's excuses or diversionary tactics. Write down the names of any witnesses. Demand that the harassment stop. Objecting to the behaviour when it occurs helps if you decide to file charges later. but visibility undermines them. Speaking about it creates an enabling environment for the victim to speak out. It makes it difficult for a potential harasser to commit the crime. Reinforce your statements with strong. Timid. say it. It equips people with information as to what is to be done in such a case. Whatever he's just done. submissive body language will undermine your message. Stop harassing women'. Stick to your own agenda. self-respecting body language: eye contact. Privacy protects harassers. Speak the truth (no threats. and blunt. Use a combined verbal and physical response to physical harassment. Say what you have to say. no obscenities. Don't make excuses for him.What Steps Can Employees Take To Prevent Sexual Harassment? Most women themselves fail to recognise sexual harassment and treat it as trivial and routine. Dealing with the Harasser upfront: • • • • • • • • • • Do the unexpected: Name the behaviour. Write a letter. Take charge of the encounter and let people know what he did. unemotional. no appeasing verbal fluff and padding). places. Write down the dates. Don't smile. People have successfully stopped sexual harassment by writing a letter detailing the behaviour that is offensive and asking the person who is harassing them to stop the behaviour. Respond at the appropriate level. While speaking about it. His behaviour is the issue. a strong. it is acknowledged that it exists.
Support a harassed colleague . or engage in situations that make you uncomfortable. Do not trivialize the matter. If your workplace already has an anti sexual harassment policy or the conduct rules of your institution prohibit sexual harassment. . you may not be the only one harassed by this person. do things. and remove yourself from the situation immediately. respond to questions. Read the Vishaka judgment carefully and know your rights. Tell someone: Being quiet or stoic about sexual harassment lets it continue. Be aware of situations and people who may harm you: Don't ignore other's warnings about particular people or social settings. Get a medical check-up: If you have been raped or physically assaulted. be direct and honest. Create a Witness to the behavior: Inform a trusted colleague and try to insure that s/he is an eye or ear witness to an situation where you are being sexually harassed. Regardless of your previous behaviour or signals you may have given earlier.powerful than a verbal request. go for a medical check-up. she will require a lot of encouragement and support. Do not worry about offending the other person or hurting his or her ego. Set your own boundaries: Say "NO" emphatically and clearly when you are asked to go places. you have the absolute right to halt any sexual exchange at any time. This will be useful later if you chose to file a formal complaint. the person usually just stops the behaviour. Acknowledge their concern for you and for themselves. Obtain a medical report. send a copy of the institution policy/conduct rules to the harasser with the appropriate sections underlined. Hence if a colleague is talking about it. Remember sexual harassment is 'unwelcome' behavior. Remember that it is difficult to speak about sexual harassment. Spread the word . Take care of yourself first. Talk to other co-workers. Accept this right and act on it. What can you do as a colleague? Do not disbelieve a woman when she shares about harassment. Talk to a union: If you are a member of a labour union. If your organisation does not have a policy. should you decide to pursue a legal case. This is important.let your colleagues know about the issue.remember it could be you tomorrow. its prevalence and the judgment. Send a copy of sexual harassment policy / rules to the harasser. ensure that your employer formulates an anti-sexual harassment policy and carries out all the connected tasks. The recipient of the letter seldom writes back. Trust your own instincts about possible danger: In an uncomfortable situation. talk to your union representative. Do not blame yourself and do not delay. Report sexual harassment to the appropriate person in the organization: Explore the different avenues available to you and file a formal complaint if necessary.
The best way to prevent sexual harassment is to adopt a comprehensive sexual harassment policy. the Complaints Committee to file a formal complaint. stop that behavior. Ask yourself: Could your behavior offend or hurt people at your workplace? Could your behavior be interpreted by another as sexual harassment? Would you like your behavior to be discussed by others? Would you like your friend. Approach your employer and push for a redress mechanism / sexual harassment policy. child or sibling to be treated in the same manner? AS AN EMPLOYER……. . It is important that you: Be professional at all times. SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY Adopting Sexual Harassment Policy: What should be included in an anti-harassment policy? A basic policy should set forth the following: • • an express commitment to eradicate and prevent sexual harassment and express prohibition of sexual harassment. Offer to accompany the recipient to the offending person. where it does occur. if you do not have one in place already. to ensure that adequate procedures are readily available to deal with the problem and prevent its recurrence. Be supportive of people who wish to talk about being sexually harassed and Direct them to the appropriate persons / authorities. Take responsibility to see that sexual harassment is stopped and there is no reprisal.Encourage the recipient to approach the offending person directly or use other informal resolution methods. a definition of sexual harassment including both quid pro quo and hostile work environment giving examples. If you do have a mechanism in place. Set a positive example. Don't go along with the crowd. Avoid making assumptions. Think before making personal comments. Consider your attitudes. ensure that it complies with the Supreme Court guidelines. As an employee: If your behavior offends an employee. The aim is to ensure that sexual harassment does not occur and. partner. Contact a non-government organization working on the issue to organise an awareness/training programme at your workplace/ to help create a policy for your workplace.
Discuss the policy with all new employees Ensure that third-party such as suppliers and customers are aware of your sexual harassment policy Review the policy with your employees on a regular basis Enforce Policy Take complaints of sexual harassment seriously and investigate all sexual harassment charges quickly and thoroughly and professionally Maintain accurate records of the investigation and the findings Make sure employees who bring charges do not face retaliation Ensure confidentiality and time bound response to complaints. additional resource or contact persons available for support and consultation. i. witnesses. as well) 2. customers etc. Informal methods of resolving complaints must be part of the complaints mechanism as 1.e. provisions for training of employees at all levels. Organisations need to focus on the plight of the average individual. the objective is to end the harassing behaviour at the lowest possible (which is the most cost effective.. contacting the responsible authority for sexual harassment. an express commitment to keep all sexual harassment complaints and procedures confidential and time bound. complaining through email. Policies and procedures should be adopted after consultation or negotiation with employee representatives. A policy is useless unless people use it. calling a hotline. . and most research indicate that a small fraction of employees ever say or do anything about harassing behaviour. a clear statement that anyone found guilty of harassment after investigation will be subject to immediate and appropriate disciplinary action a clear understanding and strict rules regarding harassment of or by third parties like clients. Have the employees sign it to acknowledged that they received and read the policy. a detailed outline of the grievance procedure employees should use. Complaints Committee members and other employees involved in prevention and complaints resolution. Experience suggests that strategies to create and maintain a working environment in which the dignity of employees is respected are most likely to be effective where they are jointly agreed. The policy can also be posted in the workplace. an anti retaliation policy providing protection against retaliation to complainants. Communicate Policy Issue a strong policy from the top authority against sexual harassment taking a "zero tolerance" approach Make sure it gets out to all your employees either through the employee handbook or in memo form or with pay packets or with appointment letter. If you have employees whose primary language is not English.• • • • • • • • an explanation of penalties (including termination) the employer will impose for substantiated sexual harassment conduct. Take immediate action when sexual harassment is discovered or suspected Discipline appropriately any employee found to have engaged in sexual harassment Safeguard your employees from third-party work-related sexual harassment COMPLAINTS CHANNEL Complaints Channels need to provide different routes that employees can take to file complaints. have your sexual harassment policy translated or communicate to them in their primary language. many complaints can be resolved effectively and positively . a supervisor. etc.
Desired Qualities Of The Members Of Complaints Committee: • • Subjectivity: A sexual act when unwelcome is sexual harassment. (unless something on record completely negates her complaint). if in sub-ordinate position of power at workplace to that of accused. save bad blood. The organisation needs to put down clearly. First Contact Persons from within the Committee or otherwise should be appointed who could try to resolve the complaint informally first before the complaint goes to the formal channels of complaints committee. The complainant. The Complaints Committee?s first job is to believe in this reality. Empathy: It is critical that the Complaints Committee empathizes with the complainant and does not judge her by their moral standards. The impact sexual harassment has on a woman It is difficult for a woman to talk about anything sexual. . Informal options act as a buffer or filter. has at stake her personal life and career. Such a committee should: *be headed by a woman *have half its members as women *include a third-party representative from an NGO or any other agency conversant with the issue of sexual harassment (to prevent undue pressure from within the organization with respect to any complaint). against the superiors. Complaints Committee Employers need to set up a redress mechanism/complaints committees as per Vishaka guidelines.through informal methods. The Supreme Court guidelines impose an obligation on the employer to set up a Complaints Committee to deal with the cases of harassment. when she complains. find it very difficult to diligently carry out the responsibilities bestowed on them as heads or members of the Committee. the unwelcome is the woman?s subjective reality. The Complaints Committee must remember: • • • • • • • It needs extensive orientation for effective functioning. The most important question to be answered in the affirmative that the committee and all functionaries must ask themselves while providing redress to a particular case is 'Do we believe her?' Selection of the Complaint Committee members is extremely important as in most cases the committee members. It needs to handle complaints in a confidential manner and within a time-bound framework It needs to submit an annual report on sexual harassment to the appropriate government authority. certain non-negotiables for the complaints committees for effective resolution of complaints. Hence there can be long time interval between the harassment and the actual complaint. Platforms to resolve complaints or to stop harassing behaviour must be provided before the complaints escalate into full-blown. if employees can be advised as to how to handle the situation before it gets out of hands. prevent the office environment getting uncomfortable for all. It cannot function like a criminal court. formal complaints.
Do not discuss the complaint among the presence of the complainant or the accused. Don'ts • • • • • • Do not. Other things the Complaints Committee need to do • • Encourage the woman to note details of each incident of harassment and monitor any changes in work patterns or attitude on the part of the alleged harasser so as to avoid as far as possible attempts at victimisation or accusations of poor work performance. Do not insist on a detailed description of harassment. the complaint should go to the committee. Authorise Complaint Officers to resolve the issue without the committee?s intervention. so that there may not be any eyewitnesses. . Treat the complainant with respect. (a) do not give too much weightage to intention. Complaint officers should be members of the committee. and (b) 'proof beyond reasonable doubt' is not required. get aggressive. Ensure that your body language communicates complete attention to the complainant and the accused. this is a human rights issue. Appoint complaints officers-one man and one woman. Help the complainant regain his/her self-respect. Provide safety for friends and supporters of the complainant. etc. Remember.to serve as the first point of contact. Discard pre-determined notions of how a victim or accused should look or behave. it should give three valid reasons. ask them details of any harassment. a strong probability is sufficient. Do not try and determine the impact of the harassment on the complainant. airy room for meeting the complainant. This is an important point that the committee would do well to remember at all the times. therefoe.Complaints committees: Do's and Don'ts : D's • • • • • • • • • • • • • Formalise and publicise complaint procedures that are easy and non-threatening. Let the complainant determine it. comfortable. Do not allow for interruptions when talking to the complainant and/or accused. which has occurred. Beware of stereotypes. focus on the impact. All sexual crimes are committed in private. Help the complainant. Make discreet enquiries as to whether other workers have experienced similar problems and if so. under any circumstance. if necessary. If the management does not accept the recommended action. Use a cheerful. One of them should be the outside expert. If unresolved to the complainant?s satisfaction. This could increase the complainant?s trauma. Consult the complainant for punitive action.
in addition to these. Sexual Harassment Awareness Training The setting up of a complaints committee and an anti-sexual harassment policy lays a strong foundation for a sexual harassment free workplace. Educate them about the issue and promote a healthy discussion of the policy. Follow up on any corrective action so you can document if the employee fails to take advantage of your companies polices/procedures or any corrective action that your company takes to prevent the sexual harassment from occurring again in the future. and could lead to the creation of a hostile work environment. The training programme is the best way to ensure proper understanding and implementation of your policy. Their training should include a component of gender sensitization. (Adopted from ?Sexual harassment is no joke? by SIPTU. the procedures of investigation. Inform the supervisors that even mild to moderate sexual jokes or statements can create an atmosphere of hostility that will make some employees uncomfortable. The training for Complaints Committee should address. and to make sure that they understand that an employee does not need to suffer negative consequences in order to make a complaint of sexual harassment. try to ensure that the harasser-rather than the victim. It is the best forum to communicate to employees what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Sexual harassment training for all employees should address perceptions and understanding of sexual harassment. deal with it when it occurs and prevent it. TRAINING Take your employees with you. to recognise sexual harassment. and for enquiry. Training for the members of the Complaints Committee and others who are going to be instrumental in implementing the policy. in a non-threatening atmosphere of mutual learning. a trade union in Germany) Always document the results of any sexual harassment complaint or investigation. .is the person required to move. documenting the procedures. etc. men and women. Conduct yearly meetings with your supervisors to review the sexual harassment policy. skills necessary for enquiries.• • If the problem should involve transfer of one of the people involved. is very essential. Not only document the results. impact of sexual harassment on individuals and workplace. but also document any corrective action that you asked the employee or supervisor to take. effective training programmes are essential to sensitise/train all their staff members. However. along with the procedures for taking complaints. understanding the policy and complaints mechanism. Inform all employees that it is their obligation to report sexual harassment that they either experience or witness.
non-verbal or physical action is used to change a victim's sexual status against the will of the victim and resulting in the victim feeling inferior or hurting the victim's dignity. Sexual as well as the moral harassment is recognized by the law. threats or constraint. moral harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to repeated acts (one is not enough) the aim or effect of which may result in a degradation (deterioration) of his conditions of employment that might undermine his rights and his dignity. etc. in circumstances in which a reasonable person. Although there is no specific law against sexual harassment at workplace in India but many provisions in other legislations protect against sexual harassment at workplace. Denmark Sexual harassment is defined as. "The fact of harassing anyone using orders. or if it can be justifiably perceived by the party concerned as a condition for decisions affecting the exercise of rights and obligations ensuring from labor relations." This means the harasser can only be someone with authority on the harassed (basically. thereby making the impact of such actions on the recipient more relevant rather than intent of the perpetrator. remarks. 2005 regulates this area. Law number 1385 of December 21. such as by slapping the harasser in the face.. According to India's constitution. physical contact and advances. Women are viewed as being responsible for confronting harassment themselves. a demand or request for sexual favours. affect his physical or mental health or jeopardize his professional future..." Czech Republic Undesirable behavior of a sexual nature at the workplace if such conduct is unwelcome. is also sexual harassment. there can't be sexual harassment between coworkers of the same rank). showing pornography. Man and woman are looked upon as equal. when any verbal.. would have anticipated that the person harassed would be offended. However. The critical factor is the unwelcomeness of the behaviour.Australia The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 defines sexual harassment as ". India Sexual harassment in India is termed "Eve teasing" and is described as: unwelcome sexual gesture or behaviour whether directly or indirectly as sexually coloured remarks. having regard to all the circumstances. France Article 222-33 of the French Criminal Code describes sexual harassment as.. jokes. unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. . any other unwelcome physical. by a person abusing the authority that functions confer on him. in order to obtain favors of a sexual nature. are only deemed discriminatory if the employer has stated so in their written policy. humiliated or intimidated. unsuitable or insulting. sexual harassment infringes the fundamental right of a woman to gender equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India and her right to life and live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution. verbal/non-verbal conduct being sexual in nature. In the workplace. and any action trying to change the balance in status with the differences in sex as a tool.
S. Additionally. Moral harassment occurs when en employee is subjected to acts which may result in a deterioration of his conditions of employment or undermine his rights and dignity as well as affect his physical or moral health. Philippines The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 was enacted "primarily to protect and respect the dignity of workers. the law prohibits intimidation or retaliation that accommodates sexual harassment. This law. These definitions are not legal ones. but definitions accepted by the jurisprudence Russia In the Criminal Code. in practice. AASHA defines sexual harassment much the same as it is defined in the U. an offence to human dignity. current CC RF). (CC RF). gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman. the courts do not examine these issues. employees. a restriction of liberty. and applicants for employment as well as students in educational institutions or training centers. The Alliance Against Sexual Harassment At workplace (AASHA) announced they would be working with the committee to establish guidelines for the proceedings. there exists a law which prohibits utilization of an office position and material dependence for coercion of sexual interactions (Article 118. provides for a clear definition of work. Russian Federation. a violation of every person's right to elementary respect. IPC deals with “assault or criminal force to a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty. however it is commonly accepted by the jurisprudence. 2005) Pakistan Pakistan has adopted a Code of Conduct for Gender Justice in the Workplace that will deal with cases of sexual harassment. Poland There is no special provision in the employment law that provides for moral or sexual harassment. Intimidation or retaliation thus related to sexual harassment are defined by the law as "prejudicial treatment". that sexual harassment occurs when the employee is subjected to acts of another person in order to obtain favours of a sexual nature. and Section 509. and prohibits the behavior as a discriminatory practice. consisting of ten sections.such as Section 354. However. and other cultures. and sets penalties for violations of its provisions. IPC deals with “word. education or training-related sexual harassment and specifies the acts constituting sexual harassment. It is to be noted that a victim of sexual harassment is not barred from filing a separate and independent action for damages and other relief aside from filing the charge for sexual harassment. and an infringement of the right to privacy. according to the Moscow Center for Gender Studies. Israel The 1998 Israeli Sexual Harassment Law interprets sexual harassment broadly. . (Kamir. It likewise provides for the duties and liabilities of the employer in cases of sexual harassment.
within the scope of their responsibility for protection of legal personality. paragraph 1 of the Employment Act (ArG) contain further statutory provisions on the ban on sexual harassment. If an employer treats someone less favourably because they have rejected. mental and physical well-being and health. Article 4 of the GEA defines the circumstances. or of creating an intimidating. This expressly includes threats. paragraph 2 of the revised Constitution. humiliating or offensive environment for them. where it is one of several provisions which prohibit discrimination in employment and which are intended to promote equality. either form of harassment described above. The ban on sexual harassment in the workplace forms part of the Federal Act on Gender Equality (GEA) of 24 March 1995. hostile. degrading. or submitted to. was modified to establish sexual harassment as a form of discrimination in 1986. the promise of advantages. Paragraph 2 of the old Federal Constitution) in 1981 and adopted in Article 8. Article 4 of the GEA of 1995 defines sexual harassment in the workplace as follows: “Any behaviour of a sexual nature or other behaviour attributable to gender which affronts the human dignity of males and females in the workplace.” United Kingdom The Discrimination Act of 1975. Article 198 (2) of the Penal Code (StGB) and Article 6. It states that harassment occurs where there is unwanted conduct on the ground of a person's sex or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature and that conduct has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity. Article 328.Switzerland A ban on discrimination was included in the Federal Constitution (Article 4. Article 5 legal rights and Article 10 protection against dismissal during the complaints procedure. The ban on sexual harassment is intended exclusively for employers. paragraph 1 of the Code of Obligations (OR). the application of coercion and the exercise of pressure to achieve an accommodation of a sexual nature. this is also harassment .