Calling of documents by police/court in a matter of sexual harassment

As has been recently reported by the Mumbai Mirror on 27th August, 2016, the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources for Max Life Insurance, Vijay Chaudhary, has been charged under Sections 354A and 509 of the Indian Penal Code for misbehaving and sexually harassing a former employee. As reported, it seems, Mr. Chaudhary was staring at the lady and when she asked how she could help him, he said, “You are looking sexy and gorgeous”. It also appears from the report that he got furious when the lady asked him to behave himself, got abusive and threatened that he would “fix her”. She has claimed that she had complained to ...

Company to pay Rs. 1.68 crore as damages for sexual harassment – Madras High Court

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“the Act”) was notified on 9th December, 2013. However, even after more than a year of coming into force, it appears from surveys and comments from the Ministry of Women and Child Development in various newspaper reports, that many organizations have still not constituted an internal complaints committee (“ICC”) in their organization, in compliance with the Act (even though the fact is that organizations should have constituted a committee for tackling sexual harassment way back in 1997 when the Vishaka judgment was passed, instead of waiting for the Act to come in force). According to the Act, ...

POSH: Website for submission of annual reports

The Times of India, on 18th August, 2015 reported that the administration of the district of Gurgaon has written to the state women and child development department requesting them to set up a website which would enable employers to submit an annual report with respect to cases of sexual harassment at workplace, in accordance with the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“the Act”) and comply with the law more effectively (Link provided below). Non-compliance with this provision of the Act attracts penalty of an amount of Rs. 50,000 on the employer and may also lead to cancellation of license to ...

Sexual Harassment Act:Anniversary Update (2)

Continued from the previous post ‘Sexual Harassment Act : Anniversary Update‘… Increase in the number of cases of sexual harassment: Further, Times of India,  recently reported that as most of the companies fail to comply with `Sexual Harassment Act 2013′ and take rare interest in establishing the mandatory Internal Complaints Committee, cases of workplace harassment in Gujarat have witnessed a 59% rise in past one year. As per data received from Gujarat State Women Commission (GSWC), 73 complaints of workplace harassment (verbal, mental and physical) were received between March and November, 2015 as compared to 46 in 2014-15. As rightly pointed out by GSWC chairperson Ms Leela Ankoliya, it appears that ...

Sexual Harassment Act : Anniversary Update

The Sexual harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“Sexual Harassment Act”), completed its second birth anniversary on 9th December, 2015. The following are the recent updates at the end of 2 years: The Ministry of Women and Child Development released a Handbook on the Act on the same day to clarify some of the ambiguities in the Act. The Handbook can act like a practical guide for ICC members and employers. Government initiative to implement Sexual Harassment Act: Earlier this month, Business Standard reported that on a question on reduction of gender discrimination, Smt. Maneka Gandhi, in an oral reply to a starred question in the ...

How does the working environment of an organization affect an employee?

Plato had said that “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Imagine a young individual, just out of college, newly recruited to an organization – an organization where using abusive language is as much a part of life as drinking water or as common as printing documents, where using crass words and belittling fellow employees is the order of the day and where nobody reflects before making foul comments on personal life. How will this young individual feel while entering a workplace like that every day? What will be his first outlook towards the work culture? Is it likely that this new recruit may not perform well? ...

Men and women – and the Indian perspective

This blog is written mostly with the intent to fathom general opinion on: (1) The reasons that may be responsible for the rising number of sexual harassment complaints in India. Is it that the number of complaints have increased over the last few years because women have started getting sexually harassed more often? Or is it that after passing of the law in this regard, women have become more aware of their rights? Or is it that the role of the media and NGOs in creating awareness and encouraging women to stop tolerating such behaviour has caused many of them to actually take steps to end such behaviour? And I ...

Sexual Harassment Complaint and Character

Is character important in deciding a sexual harassment complaint? Is a woman supposed to be blamed if a man makes advances towards her? Should dressing up in western clothes be considered to be provocative dressing? In several cases, not just the alleged harasser but also the internal complaints committee (ICC) members raise a question (and perhaps even base their decision) on ‘promiscuous character’ or ‘open sexual attitude’. Perhaps they fail to take note of the fact that ‘promiscuous character’ of a woman or being ‘habitual to sex’ is irrelevant even in rape cases and a rapist cannot take the woman’s character as a ground of defence (as held in the ...