Centre extends SHe-box to private sector

Centre extends SHe-box to private sector

Centre extends SHe-box to private sector

Women working in the private sector can now lodge complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace through an online system created by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry.

The complaints, to be registered at 'SHe-box' (sexual harassment electronic box), will be forwarded to the internal complaints committee (ICC) of the private organisations concerned for action at their end.

The ministry will monitor the response and "do a follow up" in case action is delayed or ignored. The complainants will also be able to monitor the status of their complaint.

"Not just physical harassment, but also complaints of being transferred or terminated by an employer, discrimination due to maternity can be filed. Harassment at workplace include men using foul language or cracking lewd jokes," WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi said.

The 'SHe-box,' hosted at the ministry's website since July, was available for lodging complaints of sexual harassment by women government employees only.

"We received 346 complaints from women employed in the government sector. Seeing such a huge response we are opening SHe-box to all women who have faced any kind of sexual harassment at their workplace," the minister said.

Under the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013, it is compulsory for any organisation with 10 or more employees to set up an ICC for addressing the women employees' complaints of sexual harassment.

The law requires all organisations to submit an annual report on the number of complaints of sexual harassment received from their women employees.

However, there is no mechanism to ensure the compliance with this provision.

"We will appeal to the finance ministry once again to make the disclosure of the constitution of an ICC mandatory under Section 134 of the Companies Act, 2013," the minister said.

DH News Service