Friday, 12 September 2014

sexual harassment at workplace in india.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       ORIGINAL/APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NOS. 173-177 OF 1999

Medha Kotwal Lele and Others                           …… Petitioners

                   Vs.

Union of India and Others                                 ……Respondents


                                    WITH
                           T.C. (C) NO. 21 OF 2001
                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5009 OF 2006
                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5010 OF 2006
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Vishaka guidelines require the employers at workplaces  as  well
as other responsible persons or institutions  to observe  them   and  ensure
the prevention of sexual harassment  to  women.  These  guidelines  read  as
under :
           “1. Duty  of  the  employer  or  other  responsible  persons  in
           workplaces and other institutions:
           It shall be the  duty  of  the  employer  or  other  responsible
           persons in workplaces or other institutions to prevent or  deter
           the commission of acts of sexual harassment and to  provide  the
           procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts
           of sexual harassment by taking all steps required.
           2. Definition:
           For this purpose,  sexual  harassment  includes  such  unwelcome
           sexually  determined   behaviour   (whether   directly   or   by
           implication) as:
                 (a)   physical contact and advances;
                 (b)   a demand or request for sexual favours;
                 (c)   sexually-coloured remarks;
                 (d)   showing pornography;
                 (e)   any other unwelcome physical, verbal  or  non-verbal
           conduct of sexual nature.
           Where any of these acts is committed in circumstances whereunder
           the victim of such conduct has a reasonable apprehension that in
           relation to the victim's  employment  or  work  whether  she  is
           drawing  salary,  or  honorarium  or   voluntary,   whether   in
           government, public or private enterprise  such  conduct  can  be
           humiliating and may constitute a health and safety  problem.  It
           is discriminatory for instance when  the  woman  has  reasonable
           grounds to believe that her objection would disadvantage her  in
           connection with her employment or work including  recruiting  or
           promotion or when it creates a hostile work environment. Adverse
           consequences might be visited if the victim does not consent  to
           the conduct in question or raises any objection thereto.
           3. Preventive steps:
           All employers or persons in charge of workplace whether  in  the
           public or  private  sector  should  take  appropriate  steps  to
           prevent sexual harassment. Without prejudice to  the  generality
           of this obligation they should take the following steps:
           (a) Express prohibition of sexual harassment as defined above at
           the workplace should be notified, published  and  circulated  in
           appropriate ways.
           (b) The rules/regulations of government and public sector bodies
           relating   to   conduct   and    discipline    should    include
           rules/regulations prohibiting sexual harassment and provide  for
           appropriate penalties in such rules against the offender.
           (c) As regards  private  employers  steps  should  be  taken  to
           include the aforesaid prohibitions in the standing orders  under
           the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
           (d) Appropriate work conditions should be provided in respect of
           work, leisure, health and hygiene to further ensure  that  there
           is no hostile environment towards women  at  workplaces  and  no
           woman employee should have reasonable grounds  to  believe  that
           she is disadvantaged in connection with her employment.

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