19 May Law For Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace in India
In old times, women used to work at home, but with access to education and better facilities, women started working outside their house. As women had always been working with their families, as a wife, as a mother, these activities were considered as the primary and only job of women.
But with time, they started working outside their home, and they even worked without any rights and were frequently exploited. This is called sexual harassment, which women were not aware of.
Sexual harassment of women at the workplace violates women’s rights to equality, life, and liberty. It gives a hostile and insecure environment, which discourages women’s participation in work, adversely affecting their social and economic empowerment and inclusive growth.
According to National Crime Records Bureau, the average rate of a rape case is around 6.3 per 100,000 of the population. And according to a report of Livemint,99% case of sexual harassment goes unreported. Even after the case of Nirbhaya happened in Delhi, the rate of rapes jumps of 26% in 2013, mainly in Delhi, UP, Rajasthan. Not only rape but other forms of sexual harassment increased by 26% in 2016.
Now, let’s look over the definition of the sexual harassment of women at the workplace act.
Definition of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act
According to The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act,2013,” the right of every woman to a safe and secure workplace environment irrespective of her age or employment or work status. Hence, the right of all women working in the capacity of the regular, temporary or daily wages basis is protected under this act”.
But what are the elements of sexual harassment that can help women be aware of their workplace surroundings? Let’s throw some light over that in the next segment.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
According to Vishakha Guidelines made by the Supreme Court of India, workplace sexual harassment includes any unwanted sexual behavior, whether directly or indirectly, which also includes:
- Physical Contact
- Sexual Favours and Demands
- Sexual or Inappropriate Remarks
- Showing Pornography Forcefully
- Unusual and Sexual Behavior
Now, when we are aware of the meaning, definition, and main elements of sexual harassment of women at the workplace, let’s talk about the women harassment act in India in the coming section.
Sexual Harassment Laws in India for Women
According to Indian Bar Association, in 2017,70% of women could not file a report against sexual harassment due to social stigma. Though, the government of India set up an online management system which is Sexual Harassment Electronic Box, also known as She-box, which women can use for registration of any sexual assault.
Suppose women face any sexual harassment at the workplace during their employment, at their educational institute, hospital. In that case, she can file a complaint under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act,2013:
- This act protects all women irrespective of their age, gender, or race, whether in the government or private sectors. It covers all domestic workers and customers also.
- It is mandatory to have an internal committee in every office that can investigate the complaints of assaults.
- If there is no committee, then a penalty of Rs.50,000 shall be levied upon that business or company to cancel their license if the violence is repeated.
- A complaint can be filed within three months from the date of offense. And if you are not able to file a complaint within the given period, you can ask for a time extension from the local committee in writing.
- According to section 12 of the act, you can request to leave or transfer to another branch.
- The inquiry should be completed within 90 days, and the report needs to be made in 60 days. This deadline needs to be followed strictly.
- The complaint should consist of the time, location, dates, name of the accused to complete the whole complaint process.
In the end, we can say that sexual harassment at the workplace in India is still a problem and needs to be taken care of not only by the government but the people working around women. With the help of the above-discussed points, every woman of this world should know their legal rights, and if they confront any sexual harassment at the workplace or any other place, they can take a stand for themselves and file a complaint against the accused.