Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill (Part I)
The bill provides safety to woman against sexual harassment at workplace. The sexual harassment at workplace is basically a violation of Fundamental rights of working woman under Article 14, 15, 19, 21 (Gender equality, right to life with dignity etc.) of constitution. The SC has already passed a historical judgement in Vishaka case in 1997 against sexual harassment at workplace with guidelines to constitute a law for better security or status of women.
- ‘Aggrieved Woman’ – a woman of any age employed or not at workplace or a ‘domestic worker’ (woman employed at house/dwelling place) subject to sexual harassment.
- ‘Sexual Harassment’ – physical contact, sexual remarks, demand for sexual favour, showing pornography, verbal/non verbal conduct of sexual nature.
- ‘Workplace’ – any public/private organisation, hospital, house, stadium etc.
- ‘Unorganised Sector’ – Organisation where number of employed workers are <10.
- The following circumstances if happen may count to sexual harassment with above activities:-
- Any kind of threat/promise about her future career/employment status etc;
- Any interference in her work by creating hostile work environment etc.
- Any treatment that likely to affect her health or safety.
Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)
- Every employer shall constitute an Internal Complaints Committee at Workplace for disposal of complaints against sexual harassment of woman where number of employees are >10. Provided that ICC shall be constituted on every administrative units/offices if numbers are >1.
- The committee shall consist of following members to be nominated by employer :-
- Presiding officer – a senior level woman among employees. If not available then can be nominated from sister organizations or other departments as case may be.
- Not less than 2 members among employees related to cause of women or legal knowledge etc.
- 1 member from NGO related to cause of women or person familiar with issues of harassment.
- At least 50% of members should be nominated from women. The term of office of members shall not be more than 3 years. The member of NGO/private member shall be paid by employer as prescribed.
Local Complaints Committee (LCC)
- The District officer (nominated by appropriate govt) shall constitute a “Local Complaints Committee” in the area where internal complaints committee has not been constituted due to number of workers are <10 or to file complaint against employer itself.
- The District officer shall designate one nodal officer at each Block, Taluka and Tehsil level in rural or tribal area and at ward or municipality in urban area to receive complaint regarding sexual harassment and same shall be conveyed to LCC within 7 days by concerned officer.
- The committee shall comprises of following members (nominated by District officer):-
- A Chairperson among eminent women in field of social work;
- 2 members from NGO working for women empowerment or person familiar with issues of harassment with at least one women/one have a background in law;
- 1 member among women working in concerned block/tehsil/district etc.
- Concerned officer working in social welfare etc. shall be ex-officio member of committee.
The term of office of members shall not be more than 3 years. The Chairperson/NGO or Private member shall be entitled to fees/allowances as prescribed.