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Sexual Harassment At The Workplace Essay

972 words - 4 pages


Sexual harassment at the workplace (SHW) is a major occupational hazard that affects women all over the globe, but is prevalent more so in India, owing to the age old conventions of the office being a man’s territory. The situation is even worse in the unorganized sector, where there is no statutory protection. It involves unwelcome verbal, visual or physical acts of a sexual nature that severely affects the working conditions for an employee or undermines her dignity. It may manifest itself physically, verbally or psychologically. There are two major forms of sexual harassment encountered by women at the workplace. The first form, known as quid pro quo , involves seeking sexual favors ...view middle of the document...

SHW results in the indirect violation of Article 19 (1)(g) that guarantees the freedom to practice trade or profession of one’s choice. Additionally, the practice is contrary to the Fundamental Duty envisaged in Article 51A that talks about renouncing practices derogatory to the dignity of women and the Directive Principle of State Policy that provides for just and humane conditions of work for women .
The Guidelines stated therein have shifted the onus of maintaining a safe work environment on to the employer. His responsibility includes not only guaranteeing and maintaining such an environment, but extends to providing a mechanism for settlement and resolution or prosecution, in case such an instance of harassment occurs. Furthermore, the employer also has the duty of circulating the notification on express prohibition of such acts, and in case such conduct amounts to an offence under the IPC, he is obligated to initiate criminal proceedings against the offender.
The guidelines further lay down a faster and efficient grievance redressal mechanism to be adhered to (both in the public and private sectors) that involves formation of a Complaints Committee, within the organization to look into such incidences. The Committee is to be chaired by a woman and at least half of the members should be women. In addition, to ensure that there is no form of undue influence or pressure from senior members of the company, the Committee should involve a third party to overlook its proceedings. Further, the Honorable Judges highlighted the importance of awareness and Workers’ Initiative, wherein such matters are freely discussed in employer-employee meetings. The Guidelines provide...

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