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Research Papers:

1. Prevention of sexual harassment at workplace

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work. It was passed by the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian Parliament) on 3 September 2012. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament) on 26 February 2013. The Bill got the assent of the President on 23 April 2013. The Act came into force from 9 December 2013. This statute superseded the Vishakha Guidelines for prevention of sexual harassment introduced by the Supreme Court of India. It was reported by the International Labour Organization that very few Indian employers were compliant to this statute. Most Indian employers have not implemented the law despite the legal requirement that any workplace with more than 10 employees need to implement it. The government has threatened to take stern action against employers who fail to comply with this law. DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Sexual harassment may be one or a series of incidents involving unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or any other verbal or physical conduct of sexual nature. Sexual Harassment at the workplace includes:

  1. Unwelcome sexual advances (verbal, written or physical),
  2. Demand or request for sexual favours,
  3. Any other type of sexually-oriented conduct,
  4. Verbal abuse or ‘joking’ that is sex-oriented,
  5. any conduct that has the purpose or the effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment and/or submission to such conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment and /or submission or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for making employment decisions.

The following are all examples of sexual harassment:

  • A supervisor implies to an employee that the employee must sleep with him to keep a job.
  • A sales clerk makes demeaning comments about female customers to his coworkers.
  • An office manager in a law firm is made uncomfortable by lawyers who regularly tell sexually explicit jokes.
  • A cashier at a store pinches and fondles a coworker against her will.
  • A secretary’s coworkers belittle her and refer to her by sexist or demeaning terms.
  • Several employees post sexually explicit jokes on an office intranet bulletin board.
  • An employee sends emails to coworkers that contain sexually explicit language and jokes.

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance or conduct on the job that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Any conduct of a sexual nature that makes an employee uncomfortable has the potential to be sexual harassment. Anyone Can Be Sexually Harassed Sexual harassment is a gender-neutral offense, at least in theory: Men can sexually harass women, and women can sexually harass men. However, statistics show that the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment claims and charges are brought by women claiming that they were sexually harassed by men. People of the same sex can also sexually harass each other, as long as the harassment is based on sex rather than sexual orientation, which is not a protected characteristic under Title VII. For example, if a man’s coworkers constantly bombard him with sexually explicit photos of women, and this makes him uncomfortable, he might have a sexual harassment claim. If, however, a man’s coworkers tease and belittle him because he is gay, that might not be illegal harassment under federal law as it is currently interpreted. However, such conduct may be illegal under laws enacted by certain states, or even cities. (Of course, even if this type of behavior isn’t illegal, it also isn’t appropriate, and savvy employers will put a stop to it promptly so everyone can get back to work.) The line between harassment based on sex and harassment based on sexual orientation becomes blurred when gender-based stereotypes are at play. For example, courts have held that Title VII is violated when a woman is harassed and discriminated against because she does not act sufficiently feminine; similarly, a man who is harassed for having effeminate mannerisms and gestures is protected by Title VII. These same employees might not be protected if their harassers relied more explicitly on homophobic slurs and remarks. Again, however, smart employers won’t parse the legal details: This type of behavior detracts from productivity and morale and doesn’t serve any valid purpose, so there’s no reason to allow it to continue. What Are the Two Types of Sexual Harassment? There are two types of sexual harassment that are legally recognized: Quid pro quo sexual harassment Hostile environment sexual harassment

  1. What Is Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee gets on the promotion track or even gets to keep his/her job is based on if the employee submitted to or rejected sexual advances or other types of inappropriate sexual comments. For example, if a supervisor were to tell an employee she would be more likely to be promoted if she dressed sexier, that would be considered quid pro quo sexual harassment. Remember, if an employee submits to the sexual advance or comment, it does not necessarily mean that the employee is then barred from ever making a complaint. If the employee should change her mind, she can still complain against the supervisor who made the comment.

  1. What Is Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment?

This type of sexual harassment occurs when a co-worker or supervisor in the workplace makes sexual advances or comments to an employee that, while not affecting promotions or the future of the employee’s job, makes the working environment of the employee offensive and hostile. In general, the comments tend to affect the employee’s ability to do her job. Some instances of hostile environment sexual harassment can be:

If the employer was aware, or should have been aware, of the sexual harassment and did not take action to discipline the offender and correct the situation, the employer can be liable as well as the offender. Prevent sexual harassment in your workplace: It is recommended that employers take the following steps to prevent sexual harassment.

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About CEO

Dr Anjali Nigam, Ph.D Management, 27 years of rich training, consulting, university teaching & research experience in India & Europe. Awarded twice in 2017. Currently working on Values, Quantum Systems Approach for Gender Sensitivity, Organizational Effectiveness.

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