Objective and Applicability of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 – The main purpose of this Act is to protect women employees either directly employed or through contractor from any form of sexual harassment in their work place.
Sexual Harassment – Sexual harassment consists of physical contacts and advances, remarks which are sexual in nature, a demand/ request for sexual favours, showing pornography in any medium, other physical, verbal or non-verbal behaviour of sexual nature.
Formation of Committee – A committee known as “Internal Complaints Committee” has to be formed by every employer. An aggrieved woman or any competent person on her behalf can lodge a written complaint before the committee which needs to submit its report within 10 days. Such committee can try to settle the dispute but not in lieu of financial benefit. The internal committee is vested with similar power of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure and it can summon a person, examine him on oath, call for and check the documents etc.
Action During Pendency of the Complaint – During the pendency of the complaint, the aggrieved woman or the respondent man can be transferred to any other place. The aggrieved woman can also get a maximum of three months leave.
Compensation – Compensation to be paid in sexual harassment cases depends on the financial condition of the respondent, mental pain and trauma suffered by the aggrieved woman, loss in career due to such harassment along with the medical expenditure both physical and psychological.
Confidentiality of the Proceeding – The content of the complaint as well as the inquiry proceedings is prohibited from any kind of publication under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.
Penalty – In case of compensation is not paid, a penalty may extend up to Rs.50,000/-
Sexual harassment at workplace is a delicate matter and if required advice of labour law advocate needs to be taken immediately to avoid further complications and legal hassle.