National Consultation on Safety of Women at Workplace in context of the Sexual Harassment Act 2013, FES (2014)

On 8th and 9th September 2014, FES India Office, together with the Department of Economics, SNDT Women’s University and WomenPowerConnect, organized a workshop on “Safety at Work in the context of the law”, with focus on The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

The Consultation aimed at broadening the discussion on the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act and to what extent has the working environment in the selected sectors changed after the enforcement of the Act; to deepen the understanding and knowledge of the existing situation. The two days consultation was divided into interesting sessions with eminent scholars and practitioners from across the country and sectors.

The Key Recommendations from the consultation were:

  • All organizations need to have an effective internal Policy that clearly defines what sexual harassment is. All the employees should be informed of their responsibilities and rights in case of harassment
  • Train staff who will be investigating complaints to handle them sensitively and in accordance with the procedures
  • Employee awareness sessions on Sexual Harassment should be included as a part of on-the-job trainings of both the new recruits as well as the existing staff
  • Mandatory sensitizations programs for-

–  Employers;
–  Employees; and
–  Members of the committee

  • There should be Awareness within the organization regarding the ICC and rights and duties of the employees
  • Facts of pseudonymous and anonymous complaint need to be taken into account
  • The redressal with regard to domestic workers needs to be elaborated in the Act
  • Need for MOU’s to include all employers whether part-time or on contract within the ambit of this law
  • Transparency on every side: from all stakeholders is required
  • The Ministry of Labour and Employment needs to be involved and take responsibility along with the Ministry of Women and Child as labour laws are involved
  • The issue of Safety of women needs to be added in the Employee Service Book, Rule Book, etc. and detailing needs to be done by each and every organization in the country
  • The Internal Complaints Committee and the LCC required standardized modules or Standardized Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Penalties and Punishments needed to be spelt out and detailed

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