This article is focused on implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, in the private sector. It is a sequel to an EPW article published in which put forth that compliance by the private sector organisations to the Supreme Court Vishakha guidelines was poor and absence of legislation worked to the advantage of employers.
Tato pachauri sexual harassment years since enforcement of the Act sexual harassment of women persists and continues to be one of the critical issues faced by the private sector Krasta, ; Jha ; TNN, ; Voices of Women, These published complaints demonstrate minimum attention by employers for prevention and resolution of sexual harassment which has led the complainants approach social media or law enforcement agencies such as police for help Mishra, ; Financial Express, ; Hakim I argue that this situation has arisen primarily due to certain practices within the private sector with reference to implementation of the Act.
Present article will be highlighting such fundamentally flawed practices which will in turn reveal callous mindset of the employers.
These practices not only violate spirit of the Act but demonstrate hollow commitment by the private sector to deal with the issue. Sexual harassment continues to plague workplaces in "Tato pachauri sexual harassment."
INBA survey done across private sector organisations reveals that work place was the most sexually aggressive place in their lives of women.
It further highlights that of most employers turned blind eye to sexual harassment complaints and lack of awareness amongst women employees about complaint mechanism within the organisation.
Additionally it brought forward that employers did not follow complaint resolution process mandated by the statute.
Recently it was reported that only around one fourth companies across Gurgaon submitted Annual Report to be submitted by the employer to the government as per Act and a majority of them either submitted incomplete information or incorrect Choudhry, Thus it can be concluded that though the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, provides penalty to employers for non compliance, they did not fulfill obligations mandated by the Act.
This can be further inferred from the instances of penalty being imposed by State Labour Commissioners on employers for having not dealt with the reported complaints of sexual harassment in accordance with the law Kidiyoor, ; Business Insider, and police action against the employer for not having fulfilled obligations under Act Nagpur Today, These scenarios reflect severe shortcomings on part of employers to deal with sexual harassment in a efficient manner.
While the Government of India has been taking active steps to
Tato pachauri sexual harassment implementation of the Act in government offices DNA, there is there is absence of mechanism to check execution in the private sector.
The damage that is happening due to state apathy is unpardonable and irreparable. Anagha Sarpotdar is a practitioner and researcher on violence against women. Anagha has several publications to her credit. Currently she is working as independent consultant with organisations across work sectors on sexual harassment at workplace.
Part I of the article can be accessed here. Your email address will not be published. Let us know what you have to say: Indeed a nice article… There is a severe need to spread awareness regarding this topic.
As it is having serious impact on lives of women. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace in India: Awareness Generation and Capacity Building — Sexual harassment at workplace emerging from gender discriminatory attitudes is a complex interplay of gender, power and sexuality Pillai and Goswami, ; Thomas, ; Roper, ; Elting, Vibrant discussions on these aspects ought to be a starting point for a prevention initiative with employees.
However compelling large number of employees to go through mundane online content is a dangerous trend. Though usage and popularity of online modules is justified basis their low cost and accessibility for organisations that have geographical spread, negative effects of online training were confirmed by "Tato pachauri sexual harassment" team of US Equal Employment Opportunity Tato pachauri sexual harassment which discovered that training done over the last 30 years did not yield expected results.
It failed to act as a prevention tool because it was symbolic compliance to law more focused on warding away legal liability rather than putting end to sexual harassment. There was little effort to actually reduce discrimination or harassment towards women Levin, ; Feldblum and Lipnic, Researches done in the US cited similar negative and harmful effects of online modules consisting of cartoons and unreal examples.
Such trainings made men less capable of perceiving inappropriate behavior. They were more likely blame victims Cueto, as they were not able to relate to the cartoonish examples thereby leading to lack of self reflection Reid, Section 19 of the Act mandates that workshops or
Tato pachauri sexual harassment programmes for employees to be organised by employer.
Contradictory to this method many employers in India are choosing to use online training modules to generate awareness Phadnis and John, ; Singh, On one hand while there is dismal performance on part of employers to create awareness amongst employees Bhattacharya, ; Vyas, ; INBA, any effort to create awareness should be counted.
But most online awareness content available in India is simplistic and generalised due to absence of nuanced understanding on the issue. It leaves out grey areas related to the issue and law thus has potential of doing negative messaging due to absence of in person facilitation Joy, It is important that Indian learn lessons from the US.
Need of the day is that the government monitors contents and mode of awareness sessions happening in private sector to ensure that employers are investing resources in live facilitators who use real life examples, discuss nuances and address complex issues related to gender relations at workplace.
They drew from the life example of Bhanwari Devi, a village level volunteer employed with the Rajasthan state government programme and extended the argument
Tato pachauri sexual harassment protection of women from sexual harassment to all working women in India Sood, This intervention by the activists was duly recognised by the Supreme Court of India in the Vishakha guidelines by mandating presence of an NGO member with then Complaints Committee.
This unique provision has been retained in the Act which helps understand that appointment of an outside member is important to Committee functioning. The Act mandates that the external member should Tato pachauri sexual harassment either from an NGO or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment.
Contrary to these parameters mandated by the Act and above mentioned expectations elucidated by the Court, certain moves are being done to nullify the provision by inviting graduates of any discipline to be trained as external members with an assurance that a ready list of names would be shared with employers for choosing external members B.
PAC and ComplyKaro, Role to be played by the external member was elaborated by a judgment by the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court which specified that the external member is independent and impartial person who will command respect and compliance to the law from influential management. Kapur stated that the
Tato pachauri sexual harassment member brings in knowledge, skill and capacity to ensure that the processes are done in a professional and unbiased manner.
Presence of a novice or a person not having relevant field experience could lead to lack of just and fair Committee proceedings. This can prove to be injurious to the interest of the complainant and affect trustworthiness of the IC. Therefore is needed that the Act is amended to include criteria for appointment of a credible and experienced external member plus their responsibilities.
AlaviGole confirms that that majority of women employees do not report sexual harassment prominent reasons being lack of confidence in the organisation including redress mechanism, low awareness about law and procedures, threat of professional victimisation apart from fear of ridicule, stigma, embarrassment.
This highlights inadequate efforts by the employers and ICs to create assurance in women employees which could be counted as the foremost reason for low or no reporting of sexual harassment.