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Sexual harassment in workplace causes and remedies.

It is good that women are breaking the silence and coming out of their shells to fight against the sexual harassments happening at their work places. We could see the recent cases; an employee from 'Tehelka' magazine had lodged a complaint against its Managing Editor Tarun Tejpal for sexually harassing her during an event in Goa.

In other incident a student from Jawaharlal Nehru University complained against a senior government official for harassing her ahead of the International Film Festival (IFFI) in Goa.

In yet another incident a law intern alleged that a retired Supreme Court judge A.K Ganguly had sexually harassed her in 2012.

It is very unfortunate that the most powerful, influential and responsible persons of the society who should stand for women empowerment are accused in such cases.

After these three incidents, has stirred a debate everywhere that to what extent women are safe at the wok places. It is observed that both in organized sector and in unorganized sector, women are suffering from sexual harassment.

Many of the women who are working in schools, hospitals, and departmental stores etc; are not aware of the laws. If the situation is intolerable they quit their job or opt for transfers or else resign to live with the situation.

Women working in unorganized sector or single women who are economically vulnerable become victims of sexual harassment. This is because her male colleagues or employer knows that she cannot risk her livelihood, and therefore indulge in acts of sexual harassment.

If the victim comes out and speaks about the incident she is pressurized to furnish proof, which she cannot, because such incidents happen in a closed room or at lonely environment. So the fear of fighting a superior and its consequences and the pressure from colleagues, forces her to keep quit, as it may impact her career.

Such incident, instead of getting justice gets free publicity and the victim becomes topic of discussion. People start talking about her attire, behavior and other movements. The victim in such situation feels that it would have been better, if she had remained silent rather remain in a state of mental torture .

According to Supreme Court's Vishaka guidelines 13 August 1997, against the sexual harassment, every organized sector should have an internal complaint committee, the presiding officer of which should be a senior women employee and at least one- half of the committee should be a women.

However, many organizations still did not have these internal complaints committee. Strict instructions should be issued to all such organizations, which do not have internal complaints committee that it should be constituted immediately.

The law also says that the local complaints committee should be constituted in districts to receive complaints from women working in establishments that have less than 10 employees and cannot constitute an internal committee.

The sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redress) act 2013 says that it is a duty of an employer to help and support the women if she chooses to file complaint for an offence under the Indian penal code or any other law.

The act also says that the internal committee or a local committee can recommend punishment for a woman who makes a false complaint.

Each organization should give proper awareness to its employees about sexual harassment. It should mention that such act is punishable under the company rules.

Finally, woman's safety is her own responsibility; she should maintain a proper professional and personal conduct at the workplace and must take care of her attire and behavior so that no one targets or harasses her.

Vijay Peddada