Sexual Harassment at the Workplace: Know What Belongs To You Before It Occurs

Sexual Harassment

In the male dominated and patriarchy world, a female is often as a commodity and suppressed in many ways. Sexual harassment is one of those many suppressions that a female suffers from. Sexual harassment at workplace includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

In the real world, sexual harassment is not as easy as its definition. You would only know it when you encounter it.

Individuals who experience sexual harassment suffer psychologically, physically and emotionally. Due to which the workplace morale is severely and negatively affected and collegiality is also injured when an incident occurs.

Sexual harassment at workplace is a very serious issue that needs to be dealt with an iron strong fist, and thankfully the Indian law allows an individual to take things under the light if something grotesque happens with them at the workplace.

Sexual HarassmentEmployers that aimed towards preventing cases of sexual harassment at the workplace should not forget the Vishaka guidelines laid by the Supreme Court.

  • Showing pornography

  • A demand and request for the sexual favour

  • Physical, verbal/non-verbal remarks – whistling, obscene jokes, comments and physical appearance, threats innuendos, and gender-based derogatory remarks etc

    Sexual harassment at workplace isn’t a new issue in the industry. It is something which usually goes unnoticed or left behind the curtains due to several social and personal reasons.

That is why it is always crucial to know your rights. Because till the time employee and workers do not become aware of their fundamental employee rights, it is almost impossible for the law and order or the system as a whole to protect victims from the offensive employer activities.

According to the sexual harassment 2013 Act, every employer is required to constitute an internal complaints committee at each office or branch with 10 or more employees.

The government, in turn, requires to set up a “Local Complaints Committees” at the district level for the investigation. That act also constitutes the process to be followed for making a complaint and inquiring into the complaint in a within a framework of time.

The sexual harassment act empowers the ICC and LCC to ask the employer at the request of the aggrieved employee interim measures like:

  • Granting leave to the aggrieved woman for 3 months in addition to her regular contractual leave entitlement

  • Transfer of the aggrieved woman or the respondent to any other workplace

Employers who fail to comply will be punished with the fine up to INR 50,000.

But as per the reports by FICCI-EY November 2015, 36% of Indian companies and 25% MNCs are not compliant with the sexual harassment act, 2013. Harassment compasses all offensive behavior which upset or show disgrace to another individual. This individual could be both male and female.

Workers suffering from sexual harassment could seek help from the law and female employees can report to women’s rights organization as well.

Sexual HarassmentMany of us still question the existence of male sexual harassment and its validation. Because society has written rules that men are supposed to enjoy conversation, attention or behaviors of a sexual nature which is because sometimes men are misjudged and mistaken as offenders. Therefore men should always avoid initiating the topics which may cause discomfort or upset the dignity of another person in any manner. They should also monitor the responsibility of keeping their gesture professional and gentle in mind always.

The sexual harassment is an area which requires attention and development significant steps should be taken towards ensuring workers safety and healthy work environment. However, the act only addresses the issue of protection of women employees, if any man gets subjected to sexual harassment, cannot claim protection or relief under the laws.

In most cases, harassment begins very gently. The culprits first test the levels on the basis of how you react, and then they decide the further course of action.

Learn to brush the problem in the bud. Confront the harasser, start by reacting strongly, verbally. Master up the courage to say that you are not comfortable with what they said or did.

These predators are always Cowards, they do not like confrontation. So you should gift them one.

The key to tackling the sexual harassment is not to buckle under any kind of pressure, and more importantly, never feel ashamed of talking about issues to your co-workers or to people who are willing to help out.

Therefore, no matter where you work, always keep the courage to speak out and stand up for yourself. Because that warm glow of satisfaction will stay with you throughout your career.

Moreover, it is the responsibility of the man as well to discourage the environment of female exploitation at the workplace and the society at large. If someone finds such case of women exploitation, they must speak up or try to solve the situation in the best possible way.