THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE, (PREVENTION, PROHIBITION AND REDRESSAL) ACT, 2013 & RULES MADE THEREIN.

Act is enacted by Indian Parliament to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Sexual harassment is termed as a violation of fundamental rights of a woman to equality UNDER ARTICLES 14 AND 15 of the Constitution of India and right to life and to live with dignity UNDER ARTICLE 21 of THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA…. Sexual harassment includes behavior such as physical contact, demand or request for sexual favors, showing pornography or any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature…

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT

Provides that no woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace, circumstances which if present or connected with any act or behavior of sexual harassment may amount to sexual harassment such as implied or expressed promise to preferential treatment or implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment, implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment, interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment, humiliating treatment likely to affect health or safety of a woman…

INTERNAL COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE (“ICC”)

The Act makes it mandatory for every employer to constitute an internal complaints committee (“ICC”) which entertains the complaints made by any aggrieved women. The members of the ICC are to be nominated by the employer and ICC should consist of i) a Presiding Officer4, ii) not less than two members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause or women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge and iii) one member from amongst non-governmental organizations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment. In order to ensure participation of women employees in the ICC proceedings, the Act requires that at least one-half of the members of ICC nominated by employer are women…

EMPLOYER PENALTIES FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT

The Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment as a form of illegal sex discrimination. If an employer is found guilty of failing to stop sexual harassment, law permits the following penalties:

  • Lost wages. Payments to cover wages and benefits a victim would have earned from the date of the harassment to the date of the trial or settlement.
  • Future lost wages. Payments to cover wages and benefits a victim would have earned if there had never been a sexual harassment charge.
  • Compensatory damages. Payments for emotional pain and anguish.
  • Punitive damages. Payments to punish the employer.
  • Attorney costs and court fees.
  • Reinstatement or promotion for victim.
  • Both public and private employers with at least 15 employees must uphold federal law.

EMPLOYEE PENALTIES FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT

If an employee admits to sexual harassment or is found during an investigation to have engaged in sexual harassment, an employer may take disciplinary action against employee. Most employers try to make punishment proportionate to seriousness of offensive behavior…

PENALTIES AGAINST A HARASSER MAY INCLUDE

  • Warning or reprimand
  • Transfer or demotion
  • Salary reduction
  • Suspension or termination
  • Training or counseling
  • Monitoring