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Workplace harassment

Civil Society Review

Published: Nov. 29, 2019
Updated: Dec. 24, 2019

We know that women have the right to a safe workplace under the law. But what do we really know about the law itself? Very little. This slim book, Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace, is a step-by-step guide on such harassment, how to address it and the processes involved. It simplifies the legal jargon of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (SHW) 2013, to elucidate what it really means.

The book is divided into five parts. The first section is a visual A to Z of workplace sexual harassment. For example – B is for body language that is workplace-inappropriate, L is for the legislative timeline of the Act, T is for timeline for redressal and so forth. The SHW act is defined in 26 simple visuals.

Subsequent sections outline the responsibilities of an organisation in constituting a policy, communicating that policy to employees and forming an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to ensure that the policy is being enforced. ICC members must be carefully selected and trained. This should be the company’s mandate.

Another section explains the redressal mechanism in detail. First of all, a formal complaint needs to be registered. It will then be investigated, witnesses will be examined, and evidence will be evaluated before any disciplinary action can be taken.

A section of frequently asked questions breaks it down further. What are the consequences for organisations that don’t take necessary measures? What if the complaint is against the head of the organisation? Where can a domestic worker file her complaint? This is essential information for all, given how little is known about the legal procedure.

The book also contains case studies and landmark judgments in cases of sexual harassment. It is a handy and accessible guide for employers, employees and everyone in the formal and informal workforce.



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