Policy on creating a Gender Neutral Workplace
Organization’s philosophy is to be a professional organization, encouraging growth of individuals irrespective of gender, religion, caste or community. Organization endeavors to ensure a safe, secure and congenial work environment, so that employees can deliver their best without inhibition. Through all its policies, Organization seeks to ensure that both sexes have equal opportunity and no preferential or discriminatory treatment is meted out to anyone on grounds of sex alone.
In that context, where a large percentage of the workforce is female, the need was felt to spread awareness to prevent gender related harassment or discrimination, and in event of such occurrence, provide recourse to the concerned individual.
The awareness of the broader problem of gender discrimination and the specific instances of sexual harassment gained focus in the 1970s. But even today there is little agreement on the definition of such behavior. Research shows that men and women differ in what they view as acceptable behavior. Women define a wide variety of sexual behaviors at work as sexual harassment, while men tended to rate only the more extreme behaviors as harassment. (Collins and Blodgett, 1981)
Therefore, based on the guidelines given by the Supreme Court and the National Commission for Women, given below are details of what would be considered harassment.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a serious offence that can destroy human dignity and violates the right to gender equality, the right to ‘life and liberty’, and the fundamental right ‘to practice any profession or to carry out any occupation, trade, or business.’ It is an act amounting to misconduct in employment. The complainant (victim) does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
Sexual harassment in the workplace has been defined as including unwelcome sexually determined behavior, whether direct or implicit.
• Eve teasing including any indecent gesture, use of indecent language, or any act intended to insult the modesty of a woman or intruding the privacy of a woman employee; • Unsavory or sexually colored remarks, jokes, innuendos, taunts, pet names; • Steering conversation improperly towards sexual preferences, fantasy, or sex life; • Gender based insults or sexist remarks;
• Unwelcome sexual hints/ suggestions in any manner such as over telephone and the like; • Touching or brushing against any part of the body and the like; • Displaying pornographic or other offensive or derogatory pictures, cartoons, pamphlets, sayings, items or décor (Accessing, storing or forwarding pornographic material is also against the IT policy and other rules of the company and constitutes an act of indiscipline); • Forcible physical touch or molestation;
• Physical confinement against one’s will and any other act likely to violate one’s privacy; • It could be done by a person individually or acting with others. • It could be directed at either males or females
• It could occur between peers or individuals in a hierarchical relationship (covert or overtly use of power inherent in the status of the manager to affect negatively an employee’s work experience and opportunities) • It could either result in a “Quid Pro Quo” (this in exchange for something) or in a hostile working environment. (To threaten, coerce, or intimidate an employee to accept sexual advances or making employment decision affecting the individual or create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment)
Any of these acts is discriminatory when the person has reasonable grounds to believe that her objection would disadvantage her in connection with her employment or work including recruitment or promotion, or when it creates a hostile work environment or other adverse consequences.
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