Committee proposed to deal with sexual harassment at workplace

Last Updated 24 April 2014, 20:39 IST

Sexual harassment at workplace can be curbed if organisations assess their employees’ emotional intelligence before hiring them, said Amita Prasad, Principal Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development.

She was speaking at a seminar organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India on ‘Laws Against Sexual Harassment at Workplace: Issues and Concerns,’ on Thursday.

Prasad said every organisation must have a committee that addresses issues of sexual harassment.

“Companies speak of zero tolerance with respect to garbage, emissions, etc. One should also have a zero-tolerance committee to ensure no person becomes a victim in this regard,” she added.

It was also said that the idea of dress code was important when it comes to tackling such issues.

Laws should be equal since these are serious matters that affect one’s self-esteem and confidence.

“Loss of dignity is more if it is a woman employee since society is more harsh towards her. Hence, these committees should have counsellors who can help a victim overcome a traumatic incident,” she added.

Anything that is unwelcome, be it  physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct classify as sexual harassment at workplace. For that matter, if a domestic help is abused sexually in any way, that too will be classified under this, Prasad said.

‘The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013’, which came in to existence on December 9, 2013, was merely a guideline before.

The Act is based on the Supreme Court guidelines in the case of Vishakha vs the State of Rajasthan [1997 JT (7) 384], “which put the onus of a safe working environment on the employer.”

(Published 24 April 2014, 20:39 IST)

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