Work Place Sexual Harassment- The Rules & Your Rights

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To help people know their rights as an employee and the legal support they are entitled to in case of reported sexual harassment at workplace, Kashyap & Kashyap Law Firm has launched an awareness Initiative by organizing  workshops across India  on Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) at the workplace

INVC NEWS

New Delhi ,

As the storm of #MeToo movement jolted the country, what comes as a surprise that people still don’t have a clear idea about actions and implications that amount to workplace sexual harassment. To raise awareness around the issue and help people know the rules for the employers and the legal rights of employees, Kashyap and Kashyap law firm has launched an awareness Initiative by organizing  workshops across India  on Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) at the workplace

“The concept of sexual harassment is very broad and depends highly on the individual’s idea of personal space, and therefore, there is no single definition for actions that could completely define sexual misconduct at the workplace. But having said that, we should also remember that there is always a line between acceptable and objectionable. PoSH is all about recognizing the objectionable conducts at the workplace and creating an atmosphere of zero tolerance for them,” says Abha Kashyap, Managing Partner, Kashyap and Kashyap Law firm.

According to the PoSH, physical contact and advances, demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography and unwelcome physical, and verbal and non-verbal conduct of sexual nature, all these come under sexual harassment at workplace, and are subject to legal actions.

As far as the circumstances that amount to sexual harassment are concerned, there are clear guidelines for them as well. They include, implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment, threat of detrimental treatment in the victim’s employment; implied or explicit threat about the victim’s present or future employment status; interferes with the victim’s work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment and lastly, humiliating treatment likely to affect victim’s health and safety.

“The guidelines of PoSH are so extensive and inclusive that it also considers the widening space of work. Today, CEOs run the business from home and have their employees work from there as well, even conduct business across borders through technology, therefore, the definition of workplace is also broadened up,” says Ms Kashyap.

According to extended guideline by PoSH, the workplace is any place visited by the employee during the course of employment, this also includes transportation provided by the employer to and from the workplace.

So, with such clear parameters to identify sexual harassment and misconduct at work, there is no reason why victims should shy away from taking a stand against wrongdoings. But what to do in case of such incidences?

“There are two ways to handle an incident of sexual harassment. First, the victim can conciliate and resolve the issue. Second, the victim decides to take action; but with evidence and within three weeks. For this, the victim needs to file a complaint to ICC, and not to CEO or the HR head. ICC then sends a report of the inquiry, upon which the employer takes an action for the misconduct. In case, the employer takes no action, the next step is to appeal to the court. It is to note here that based on ICC reports, punishment could also be given for malicious or false complaint or evidence,” explains Ms Kahsyap.

Depending on the severity of harassment, the punishment could vary from financial penalties to demotions, transfers or even sacking. Sometimes employer compensates victim with the monetary loss resulting due to incidence and its repercussions.

With such strict and clear laws at the place, it is high time when all of us, irrespective of gender, should work towards creating a healthy and safe workplace culture.




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