The Sexual Harassment of women at workplace Act, 2013

Prevention of Sexual Harassment of women at workplace (Prevention; Prohibition and Redressal) Act; 2013

In 2013, the government enacted the Sexual harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention; Prohibition and Redressal) Act; 2013 for the prevention of sexual harassment against women at the workplaces.

Section 3 of the Act provides that no women shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace. The act has adopted the definition of ‘sexual harassment’ from Vishaka Judgment and the term sexual harassment includes any unwelcome acts or behaviour.

Acts that indicate Sexual Harassment

  • Implied and explicit promise of preferential  treatment at work; or
  • Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment at work; or
  • Implied or explicit threat about present or future employment status; or
  • Interference with work or creation of an intimidating or offensive work environment; or humiliating treatment likely to affect health, safety or self-esteem.

Acts that don’t indicate Sexual Harassment

  • Performance counselling.
  • Social interaction.
  • Showing concern.
  • Encouragement.
  • Polite Compliment
  • Friendly conversation.

Complaints Committee & Complaint Procedure

NOTE: The Act requires that at least one-half of the members of ICC nominated. The preceding officer shall hold office not exceeding 3 years from the date of their nomination as may be specified by the employer.

Local Complaints Committee

Provisions are provided under the Act to form LCC for every district for receiving complaints of Sexual Harassment from establishments where the ICC has not been formed due to;

  • having less than 10 workers or
  • if the complaints is against the employer himself

Complaint procedure

-The aggrieved woman can make written complaint of sexual harassment at workplace to the ICC or to the LCC

  • within a period of 3 months from the date of incident
  • and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of 3 months from the 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 for making complaint in writing.

– In case the aggrieved woman is unable to make complaint in writing to the LCC, reasonable assistance shall be rendered by the chairperson or any member of the LCC for making complaint in writing.

– In case the aggrieved woman is unable to make complaint on account of her physical incapacity, a complaint may be filed inter alia by her relative or friend or her co-worker or an officer of the National Commission for women or State women’s Commission or any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent if the aggrieved women.

Aggrieved woman” means-

  1. in relation to a workplace, a women, of any age, whether employed or not, who alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment by the respondent,
  2. in relation to dwelling place or house, a women of any age who is employed in such a dwelling place or house.