Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
Written By Admin on February 17, 2014 | Monday, February 17, 2014
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 came into force with effect from 9th December 2013. The Act seeks to cover all women, irrespective of their age or employment status and protect them against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in public and private sector, whether organized or unorganized. “Sexual harassment at the workplace” is defined in a comprehensive manner, in keeping with the definition laid down in the Vishaka judgment, and broadening it further to cover circumstances of implied or explicit promise or threat to a woman’s employment prospects or creation of hostile work environment or humiliating treatment, which can affect her health or safety. Furthermore, the Act goes much further in defining the ‘workplace’ to include organisations, department, office, branch unit etc. in the public and private sector, organized and unorganized, hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutions, sports institutes, stadiums, sports complex and any place visited by the employee during the course of employment including the transportation. For the first time, the Act provides protection to regular/temporary/ad hoc/daily wage employees, whether for remuneration or not and can also include volunteers. This covers domestic workers too.
The Act under Section 4 and Section 6 creates a redressal mechanism in the form of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and Local Complaints Committee (LCC). The Act mandates that the Committee shall complete the inquiry within a time period of 90 days. On completion of the inquiry, the report will be sent to the employer or the District Officer, as the case may be and they are mandated to take action on the report within 60 days. The Act under Section 19 casts a responsibility on every employer to create an environment which is free from sexual harassment.