Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace
Sexual Harassment is behavior. It is defined as an unwelcome behavior of sexual nature. Sexual harassment at workplace is a widespread problem in the world whether it be a developed nation or a developing nation or an underdeveloped nation, atrocities against women is common everywhere. It is a universal problem giving negative impact on both men and women. It is happening more with women gender in particular.
How much ever one try to protect, prohibit, prevent and give remedies such violation will always take place. It is a crime against women, who are considered to be the most vulnerable section of the society. That is why they have to suffer all these immunes starting from female feticide, human trafficking, stalking, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, to the most heinous crime Rape. It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or an employee) because of that person’s sex.
Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual Harassment is unwelcome sexual behavior, which could be expected to meet a person feel offended, humiliated or intimated. It can be physical, verbal and written.
Unwelcome Behavior is the critical word. Unwelcome does not mean “involuntary.” A victim may consent or agree to certain conduct and actively participate in it even though it is offensive and objectionable. Therefore, sexual conduct is unwelcome whenever the person subjected to it considers it unwelcome. Whether the person in fact welcomed a request for a date, sex-oriented comment, or joke depends on all the circumstances.
Sexual harassment includes many things:
# Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault:
# Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.
# Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.
# Whistling at someone.
# Kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips.
# Touching an employee’s clothing, hair, or body
# Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person.
Who is a Harasser and who is Harassed:
It is commonly thought that workplace sexual harassment is limited to interactions between male bosses and female subordinates. This is not true. In fact, sexual harassment can occur between any co-workers, including the following:
1. Subordinate harassment of a superior;
2. Men can be sexually harassed by women;
3. Same sex harassment- men can harass men; women can harass women;
4. Offenders can be supervisors, co-workers, or non-employees such as customers, vendors, and suppliers
Some noteworthy complaints of Sexual harassment at workplace that came into the National limelight were filed by:
1. Rupan Deo Bajaj, an IAS officer in Chandigarh, against ‘Super Cop’ K.P.S. Gill.
2. An activist from the All India Democratic Women’s Association, against the Environment Minister in Dehradoon.
3. An Airhostess against her colleague Mahesh Kumar Lala, in Mumbai.
All employers or persons in charge of work place whether in 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 work place should be notified, published and circulated in appropriate ways.
b. The rules of government and public sector bodies relating to conduct and discipline should include rules 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 work places and no employee woman should have reasonable grounds to believe that she is disadvantaged in connection with her employment.
Where such conduct amounts to a specific offence under the IPC or under any other law, the employer shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with law by making complaint with the appropriate authority.
In particular, it should ensure that victims or witnesses are not victimized or discriminated against while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment.
One can prevent this issue at different levels, government, organizational and individual level by trying to prevent this issue by confronting and not blaming anyone.