A safe workplace is a woman's legal right. Sexual harrassment constitues a gross violation of women's right to equality and dignity. It has its roots in patriarchy and its attendant perception that men are superior to women and that some forms of violence against women are acceptable.
One of these is workplace sexual harassment which is understood as a violation of women's rights and a form of violence against women. Workplace sexual harrassment, like other forms of violence, is not harmless.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition ad Redressal) Act 2013 was enacted to ensure safe working spaces for women and to build enabling work environments that respect women's right to equality of status and opportunity. An effective implementation of the Act will contribute to the relaization of their right to gender equality, life and liberty, equality in working conditions
The sense of security at the workplace will improve women's participation in work, resulting in their economic empowerment and inclusive growth. Today all workplaces in India are mandated by law to provide a safe and secure working environment free from sexual harassment for all women.
Sexual harassment includes anyone or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication), namely:-
physical contact advances;
a demand or request for sexual favours;
making sexually coloured remarks;
any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Prevention and Prohibition
An employer refers to:
1. The head of the department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit of the Appropriate Government or local authority or such officer specified in this behalf.
2. Any person (whether contractual or not) responsible for the management, supervision and control of a designated workplace not covered under clause (i).
3. A person or a household who employs or benefits from the employment of domestic worker or women employees.
The Act provides for two kinds of complaints mechanisms: Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and Local Complaints Committee (LCC). All Complaints Committees must have 50 per cent representation of women. ICC or LCC members will hold their position not exceeding three years from the date of their nomination or appointment.
Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)
Every employer is obliged to constitute an ICC through a written order. The ICC will be composed of the following members:
Women working at senior level as employee; if not available then
From amongst employees committed to the cause of women/
From amongst NGO/associations committed to the cause of women
Local Complaints Committee (LCC)
The District Officer will constitute an LCC in every district so as to enable women in the unorganised sector or small establishments to work in an environment free of sexual harassment. The LCC will receive complaints:
1. From women working in an organisation having less than 10 workers;
2. When the complaint is against the employer himself;
3. From domestic workers.
Nominated from amongst the eminent women in the field of
Nominated from amongst the women working in the block,
Nominated from amongst such NGO/associations/persons
Ex Officio member
The concerned officer dealing with social welfare or women and