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SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORKPLACE


Author: Unnati Sinha, II Year of B.B.A.,LL.B from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Hyderabad.


Introduction

Sexual harassment is a misconduct. It is characterized as an unpleasant sexual behavior. Sexual violence at work is a prevalent issue in the world, whether a developing country or a developing country or a sub-developed country, in all areas of the world. Abuses against females are prevalent. The issue is common and has an adverse effect, both on males and females. Relatively more on women in particular. No matter how much one tries to defend, ban, deter and offer fixes such offenses still take place. It is an offence against females, who are believed to be the most marginalized group of the society. Therefore, they endure offenses such as female feticides, child slavery, sexual assault, sexual exploitation being the most abominable offence.



One of the challenges is to grasp this idea when it requires a variety of actions, and the victims find it impossible to describe what they encountered. There have been attempts from both national and global level, so far there is no single standard which can describe forbidden conduct.  Unwelcome doesn't mean "unwelcome." A victim may accept and actually engage in certain behavior, although they are offensive and objectionable. A victim may agree. Sexual behavior is unacceptable where the individual is claims it as unwelcoming.



The Supreme Court of India defined Sexual Harassment as any unwelcome sexually determined behavior (whether directly or by implication) such as;

  1. Physical contact and advances,


  1. A demand or request for sexual favors,


  1. Sexually colored remarks,


  1. Showing pornography,


  1. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.



Forms of Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment has generally been categorized into two well-known forms:


1.Quid pro quo

2.Hostile Environment

  1. Quid Pro Quo- “Quid Pro Quo” means simply "this for that”. In return for job rewards, such as promotions, higher salaries, university progress, etc., it implies sexual harassing to pursue sexual facilities or advances. This kind of sexual harassment much of the time keeps a female to ransom when she refuses to meet the "demand" and will take countermeasures like firing, dismissal, memos, tarnished working records and hard working circumstances . Quid pro quo is a Latin statement, meaning "something for something," or "this for that" We use the sentence to mean the trade in goods, services, favors or other value. We can say "quid pro quos" when we speak of multiple exchanges.


  1. Hostile Environment- A less explicit but all-encompassing type of sexual assault is a hostile working atmosphere. It usually entails working or behavioral environments for a female employee, which make it untenable. Although the employee in this case is neither offered or withheld anything, unwanted sexual abuse clearly takes place because she is a woman. Sexual harassment understanding, many polls have shown that some of the coworkers' unsatisfactory acts target female staff. They are mainly:

  • Derogatory sexual or gender-specific remarks

  • The presence of pornography or sexual content such as posts, comics, sketches, timetables, pinups, images, sexual computer programs.

  • Published sexual content, such as notes or e-mail with sexual commentaries.

  • Apparel comments, personal conduct or the body of an individual.

  • Stroking or pinching the body, patting.

  • Phone calls that are inappropriate.


Sexual Harassment Laws in India

Vishaka Guidlines

In the case of sexual assault in India, the "Vishaka guidlines" were laid out in the form procedural guidelines. They were enforced by the Supreme Court of India in 1997 and overtaken by theLaw for the Prevention, Prohibition and Redress (2013) of Sexual Harassment of Women at Work.”


In 1997, the Supreme Court in the same “Vishaka case” passed a historic judgment setting down instructions for institutions concerned with sexual assault cases. The Supreme Court of India in 1997, in “Vishaka and others v State of Rajasthan” on sexual assault at the workplace set out the “Vishaka Guidelines”. The Court claimed that these principles should be followed up until the passage of legislation. In order to interpret gender equality, the “right to work for personal human dignity” in Article 14, 15 19.(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution and the protections against sexual abuse that are implicated, it was agreed by the Court that “International conventions and standards' should be considered relevant”.


Both employers or people responsible for the workplace should take the proper action to avoid sexual injury, whether in the public or private sector. They should take the suggested action without regard to the truism of this duty:

1. Assert sexual restriction as described above should be communicated in the workplace, released and disseminated accordingly.

2. The code of ethics and compliance of governments and public sector bodies should contain rules that forbid sexual assault and should involve reasonable sanctions under certain rules against the accused.

3. With reference to private employers, the previously stated provisions shall be included in the existing rules of the agricultural (standing orders) act of 1946.

4. Adequate job arrangements in terms of the work, recreation, cleanliness and wellness should be given in order to make sure that females are not adversely affected and that there is no fair cause to assume that females are adversely affected by their jobs.


THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE (PREVENTION, PROHIBITION AND REDRESSAL) ACT, 2013

Prohibition and Redress of Sexual Abuse of Women at Work 2013 is a constitutional act in India aimed at protecting females from sexual harassment at their workplace. The Lok Sabha passed this act on 3 September 2012. Rajya Sabha passed on 26 February 2013. On 23 April 2013, the Bill was approved by the President. From 9 December 2013 the Act comes into effect. This Law replaced the Vishaka Guidelines developed by India's Supreme Court (SC) for Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH).


The “International Labor Organization” has stated that only few Indian workers comply with this law. Despite legal obligation that any workplace with more than 10 workers should follow the legislation, most Indian workplaces have not enforced the law. According a November 2015 FICCI-EY survey, the 2013 “Sexual Harassment Act” (SHA) does not comply with 36% of Indian firms and 25% of MNCs. The government has warned to take harsh measures on employers who do not cooperate.

  • The law describes sexual discrimination in the workplace and establishes a rectifying process. It also offers protection against misleading or misleading accusations.

  • The Act also includes definitions of "quid pro quo abuse" and "hostile working atmosphere" in relation to an act or conduct of sexual harassment. In all industries, whether organized or non-organized, public or private

  • There is an incredibly broad concept of “aggrieved woman” that would be included by the Act to include all females, regardless of age or occupation, as well as customers, customers and home staff.

  • An “employer” is characterized as any individual that manages, oversees and controls the workplace and involves people who develop and administer strategies of such a body pursuant to Section 2. (g).

  • While the "workplace" in the Vishaka Guidelines is restricted to the conventional establishment of an office, in which there is a specific employer/employee connection, the Act is going far further, involving public and private sector, organized and unorganized organizations, departments, bureaus, branches etc. This legislation also covers non-traditional workplaces involving telemarketing.

  • The Committee shall conclude the investigation within 90 days. When the investigation is completed, the information is forwarded to the employer or to the District Officer as appropriate for the report to be taken into account within 60 days.

  • Government may command an officer in every organization to audit the workplace and the sexual assault documents.

  • When asked by the claimant, the Complaints Committee must arrange for mediation before commencing an investigation.


Analogy Of Countries

  1. Brief On United States America

Since the mid-1970s “sexual harassment” in the United States of America's labor legislation has been viewed as a form of sex discrimination. “Sexual harassment” is identified in two ways under United States legislation: “quid pro quo sexual harassment” and conduct which causes a “hostile work atmosphere” (persistency of sexual harassment, which unreasonably impairs the capacity of an employee to work). It is reported that African American females have brought a lot of early reports of sexual assault. The “Civil Rights Act of 1964” in the United States forbids discriminatory practices on jobs on the basis of race, sex and color. The ban on discrimination based on sex now only includes discrimination based on sex and transgender identities. Earlier only meant to tackle sexism against persons based solely on sex alone. In 1980.A guideline was released by the European Equal Opportunity Committee (EEOC) which defined and stated that sexual discrimination is banned as a sort of sexual harassment under the “Civil Rights Act of 1964”.


Title VII protections have been introduced under the “1991 Civil Rights Act” to extend women's right to prosecute and receive corrective and punishable damages for sexual discrimination or abuse.


New York became the first State to introduce legislation on compulsory annual instruction on employment discrimination. The State demands a formal strategy from each agency. The employer must also provide staff and vendors based in the state with personal or online immersive instruction. Staff in New York City must participate each year in training.


California is requiring companies employing more than 5 to give both written and digital (both in-person and online) sexual assault policies by 1 January 2021. It represents an extension of the 2005 legislation that only managers received training from companies of more than 50 workers. Both state-owned staff and contracted workers (including temporary and seasonal workers) shall complete training, and every two years afterward, in the six months from hiring or promotion.


2. Brief On United Kingdom

While discrimination based on “Race and Sexual Relations” is illegal, and only fairly recently does clear laws identify abuse as unlawful, under the 1975 “Race Relations Act” and the “1975 Sex Discrimination Act”. Current statistics have seen substantial increases in the number of individuals who report abuse by employment tribunals because of the increase in awareness of the problems inherent in harassment. When the allegation is grave, the Employer will suffer a high level of harm, so it is crucial that the Employer takes the abuse allegations seriously early and takes action to remedy it immediately. Under the “1997 Harassment Protection Act:

"The citizen shall not follow a course of action

  1. which is harassment against another person, and

(b) which he or she knows or should know is harassment of others."


Harassment is often carried out where a boss - or his agent such as another employee or management - conducts inappropriate behavior, which violates a person's privacy, or creates an interrogatory, insulting, harassing or derogatory atmosphere for the employee in question, on the basis of their race, disability, sex, sexual identity, ideology or religion. This is an unwelcome behavior. There is a broad range that includes all kinds of violence. Those measures could be:


1.Physical behavior;

2.Verbal behavior;

3.Non-verbal behavior.


Furthermore, although the behavior must be unwelcoming to the victim, the wrongdoer does not actually have a reason or purpose. Therefore, even though the assaulter doesn't realize that their acts inflict injury, they are always harassed.


The United Kingdom has an abundance of harassment laws:

  • “Administration of Justice Act 1970”

  • Section 40 of the “Administration of Justice Act 1970” sets out offense of threatening a contract debtor.

  • “Protection from Eviction Act 1977”

  • “Public Order Act 1986”

  • The offense of malicious assault or panic or annoyance is set out in Section 4A of the “Public Order Act 1986” added by the “Punished Justice and Public Order Act 1994”.

  • Section 5 produces violence, panic or anxiety.

  • “Protection from Harassment Act 1997”


Conclusion

Sexual harassment is still very breathing in India today, more than ever before.  Men have dominated in the workplace, women should be granted extra advocacy and other entitlements, and it will definitely reduce the number of crimes registered each year.


The other significant cause for sexual misconduct, other than the aforementioned, is the greater academic profile of women treated and unwanted acts offered by superiors of a labor-intensive entity. Although sexual harassment is called a hot spot, as per, the harassment is already treated as a taboo. This is because of community, history, standards and beliefs. And in the nutshell, it is noticed that there has been a growing number of cases of sexual assaults against women in India. And it is important to get such a mechanism that can prevent the circumstance better and lessen the amount of cases.