Workshop on “Sexual Harassment at Workplace Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal Act’2013”
29th December 2015
A workshop on “Sexual Harassment at Workplace Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal Act’2013” was organized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on 29th December 2015 at Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam Technical University, Regional Office, Noida. The workshop was for sensitizing the management and teachers of technical institutes to ensure time bound implementation of various measures to be taken to tackle the menace of Sexual Crime against women. The Workshop aimed in making the members aware of backdrop in which the Act was enacted, knowledge on basic features of the Act and Rules, definition of Sexual Harassment at workplace, mode and manner of Complaint and mode and manner of dealing with Cases / Complaints of Sexual Harassment (Procedure of Inquiry). Ms. Bhanu Bharadwaj, Assistant Professor, CSE Department of Dronacharya Group of Institutions , Greater Noida attended the workshop.
Preamble and Background of Act 2013 :
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work and for the Prevention and Redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Sexual Harassment results in violation of the fundamental rights of a woman to equality under articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India and her right to life and to live with dignity under article 21 of the Constitution and right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business which includes a right to a safe environment free from sexual harassment. The Act ensures that women are protected against sexual harassment at all the work places, be it in public or private. This will contribute to realization of their right to gender equality, life and liberty and equality in working conditions everywhere. The sense of security at the workplace will improve women's participation in work, resulting in their economic empowerment and inclusive growth.
The workshop was convened by Dr. Vinay Kumar Pathak (Honorable Vice Chancellor, Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam University). Other enlightened speakers at the workshop were Mrs. Vimita Arya (Director, AICTE ), Mrs Vartika Nanda (Stree Shakti Puruskar Awardee and Media Educator ), Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe (Honorable Chairman, AICTE) andDr. Renu Gupta (Associate Professor , Delhi University). The workshop was attended by over 250 delegates from various colleges.
Dr. Vartika Nanda (Stree Shakti Puruskar Awardee and Media Educator) discussed many sexual harassment cases likeNirbhaya case, Neha Mishra case. She also discussed about media initiatives like news channels and moral duties of human beings. Dr. Nanda discussed about gender sensitivity. Gender sensitivity means principles and practices of equality of opportunities as regards recruitment, promotion, training, career development and other conditions of services are maintained.
Mrs. Vimita Arya (Director, AICTE), explained the meaning of sexual harassment, categories of sexual harassment and role of management in sexual harassment cases. She also discussed about the Internal Complained Committee (ICC) and grievance redresses process, interim reliefs.
Internal Complained Committee (ICC):
The Act makes it mandatory for every employer to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee ("ICC") which entertains the complaints made by any aggrieved women. The members of the ICC are to be nominated by the employer and ICC should consist of (i) a Presiding Officer (ii) not less than two members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause or women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge and (iii) one member from amongst non-governmental organizations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment. In order to ensure participation of women employees in the ICC proceedings, the Act requires that at least one-half of the members of ICC nominated by employer are women.
Dr. Renu Gupta (Associate Professor, Delhi University) discussed the Indian Law of Sexual Harassment and she also discussed the legal action taken against inequality of gender in 2015 year. She explained the redressal Act’2013. She said the most important part of our corporate values is to ensure all employees are treated with respect and dignity. Engaging in, condoning, or not reporting sexual harassment is in direct conflict with our values.
She also cited in case of malicious complaints or false evidence, the committee may take action against the woman / person. However, simply not being able to prove an allegation will not mean that it is a false / malicious complaint. We have to look at why we believe women achieving thriving and becoming autonomous is threating to men rather than complimentary. It is when we reverse that framework and stop being threatened that men actually being to see - wow, I am improved by her, she is improved by me. Then we’ll stop depressing women at workplace and hear the brilliant ideas of women across the board.
The Act stipulates that aggrieved woman can make written complaint of sexual harassment at workplace to the ICC or to the LCC (in case a complaint is against the employer), within a period of three months from the date of incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of three months from the date of last incident. If the aggrieved woman is unable to make complaint in writing, reasonable assistance shall be rendered by the presiding officer or any member of the ICC (or in case the aggrieved woman is unable to make complaint in writing to the LCC, the reasonable assistance shall be rendered by the Chairperson or any member of the LCC) for making the complaint in writing.
Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe (Honorable Chairman, AICTE), gave the vote of thanks in the workshop. The workshop was successful in apprising the participants of the new Law, its features, compliances, penalties for non - compliance and other Fine print of the Act 2013. The workshop helped Faculty members and Employees become fully aware of the New Law; Accept the Law; Act as per the Law and achieve its objective along Organization’s “Values”, “Vision & “Mission”.Participants learned to effectively deal with Reported or Unreported incidents of Harassment particularly sexual harassment. Employees learned to inculcate Respect for Self (Morale) & Respect for Others (Spirit of Collaboration) and thus can create & sustain a Fear - free Workplace where employees work with Dignity and Honour.