📷 Sexual harassment at the workplace is considered a violation of women’s right to equality, life and liberty. The #MeToo movement has led to a tremendous increase in women speaking up about their experiences and demanding better treatment at work. Sexual harassment laws and the ones that safeguard maternity rights solidify the foundation for every working woman in India.
The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act of 2013 is a special Legislation aiming towards providing a safe and hostile free environment at work for women. It extends to the whole of India. It applies to both the organised and unorganised sectors in India.
As per the POSH Act, sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual behaviour, whether directly or by implication, such as: – Physical contact and advances – Demand or request for sexual favours – Making sexually-coloured remarks – Showing pornography – Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature
‘Workplace’ has to be understood in a wider connotation and not looked at in a pedantic approach. In Saurabh Kumar Mallick v. Comptroller & Auditor General of India, the word ― workplace has been objectively defined. The test laid down includes: 1) Proximity from the place of work 2) Control of the management over such a place/residence where the working woman is residing 3) Such a residence has to be an extension or contiguous part of the working place.
1. Assuming an ICC has been established in a workplace, a woman alleging sexual harassment must act quickly to preserve her complaint. 2. Section 9 requires that a complaint of sexual harassment be filed within three months of the date of the incident. 3. This may be extended to another three months if the woman can prove that those grave circumstances prevented her from filing at an earlier time although ‘grave’ is not defined within the act. 4. The ICC is required to complete the inquiry within 90 days of receipt of a complaint. While the complaint investigation is ongoing, upon written request of the complainant, the woman may be transferred to another workplace or granted leave for a period of up to three months.