Right Now Times : A male colleague came to the video conference with his female boss without wearing a pant-shirt. He was drunk.
During a video conference at the office, the male employee took a screenshot of the picture of a female colleague without asking.
Right Now Times : A senior officer called the female colleague late at night and said, “I am very bored and do some personal things.”
Due to the lockdown, the office has shifted to home, but, along with this, cases of sexual harassment have also reached home from office.
Right Now Times : There have been cases of sexual harassment in the workplace before too, but now this problem has also started coming to work from home.
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Right Now Times : People are meeting in video conference, making maximum contact through message or online mediums. In such a situation, women are facing a new situation in cases of sexual harassment.
Women have made similar complaints to HR ‘consultancy’ KelpHR. KelpHR works in the area of sexual harassment.
Right Now Times : Its co-founder Smita Kapoor says, “During the lockdown, we have had complaints from many women who have sought advice on the issue of sexual harassment at work from home.” Some women are confused whether it will come under sexual harassment at workplace due to work from home. What to do next Some women have also complained in this regard in their office. “
Work from home has been in practice even before but it became a big need during lockdown. Government to private companies are giving priority to work from home.
Right Now Times : But, there is less awareness that under what law will he come under sexual harassment while working at home. What can women do in such a situation?
The same rules and laws will be applicable in sexual harassment in work from which apply in workplace cases.
Right Now Times : If such a case arises with a woman, she can file a complaint under the Sexual Harassment Act at the workplace.
Right Now Times : Kanti Joshi, founder and advocate of “Sasha”, an organization supporting sexual harassment, says that first we have to understand what the definition of workplace is. The scope of the workplace is not limited to the office only. Wherever you are in connection with work or if the incident is related to work, then it comes within the scope of the workplace.
Right Now Times : Kanti Joshi says, “We had a case that the manager told the female colleague that it had been a long time since the lockdown. I’m leaving in front of your house, let’s meet. Such cases are also part of sexual harassment. You can complain about any behavior of a sexual nature that is against your will. An internal complaints committee is formed in any company with more than 10 employees to investigate such cases. “
Right Now Times : The Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, Prohibition and Diagnosis) Act, 2013 was introduced to provide legal assistance to women and to prevent their harassment. It is also known as Visakha Guidelines.
Both organized and non-organized sectors are covered under this law. Other information regarding this law is given below.
What is sexual harassment
Right Now Times : Sexual harassment behavior against a woman’s will be considered as sexual harassment. This includes any physical, verbal or non-sexual behavior related to sex.
If a woman has had internal relations with her senior or co-worker at some point of time but pressurize her to have an internal relationship even if the woman is not presently consenting.
Right Now Times : Talking about virtual or online sexual harassment, it includes offensive messages, online stocking, pressure for video calls, indecent jokes and not being in proper dress in video conferences.
Further procedure on filing complaint
Right Now Times : Any woman can submit her complaint to the committee within three months of such incident.
An Internal Complaints Committee should be set up by the employer.
Be a special counselor for women.
At least half of the members in the committee will be women.
Right Now Times : A member will be a person knowledgeable about non-governmental organizations working on issues related to women or related to sexual harassment.
If a company has less than 10 employees or if the employer is self-accused, then a local complaints committee will be formed. This committee will be formed by the District Officer. A woman can also file a complaint at the local police station.
Right Now Times : The committee’s investigation is compulsory to be completed within three months.
During the investigation, the woman is given immediate relief. She can get paid leave and can also take a transfer.
Online hearing in lockdown
Right Now Times : Kanti Joshi says that due to lockdown, online hearing is being done in such cases so that justice can be done on time. He told some important things related to online hearing.
The committee consents to hear from both of them online. The accused is informed of the allegations within seven days of the complaint.
Right Now Times : The accused has to give his answer in writing within 10 days. After this, the committee listens to both the parties and if both parties agree then online hearing takes place.
Right Now Times : If the accused or the victim says that they are not ready for online hearing because they cannot come to the hearing on video in front of the family. In such a situation, the investigation can be stopped until the problem of both the accused or the victim is over. In a similar case, after taking the written reply of the accused, the investigation was stopped till the lockdown was over. After this, further action was taken by calling the office.
Keep these three things in mind
Right Now Times : Smita says that work from home is definitely a new trend, but women need not be confused at all in sexual harassment complaints. I would advise them not to blame themselves first. Do not look at what you said, how you were sitting, what photos were made.
Right Now Times : Second, if you find someone’s behavior vulgar or objectionable, then immediately interrupt it and keep a record of evidence or things. Smita says that during a video conference, when her male co-worker came in the undergarment in front of a woman, he first interrupted her, then took her screen shot and then disconnected the call.
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Thirdly, immediately complain about the matter. Instead of discussing in non-essential places, complain to the committee members in the company.
Right Now Times : Smita Kapoor says that many times the accused can say that the house is my personal space and here I am not bound by the rules. Also, in the matter of workplace, it can also be seen whether there was office time at the time of the incident. But then companies say that the victim does not have to think that much. If he finds any behavior objectionable, then inform the company about it.