Sexual Harassment at Workplace

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“Some people are very sensitive to sexual harassment, and some are a little more used to it. But when you feel that prickling feeling across the back of your neck, you know that some boundary has been crossed.” ~ Jan Johnson Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. INTRODUCTION

In 1997, the Supreme Court of India, for the first time, recognized sexual harassment at the work place as a violation of human rights. The landmark Vishaka judgement outlined a set of guidelines for the prevention and redress of complaints by women of sexual harassment at the workplace. The guidelines place the responsibility on the employers to provide a safe work environment to their women employees which include both preventive and remedial measures to make the work environment safe for women employees. The Supreme Court’s definition of sexual harassment includes; “such unwelcome sexually determined behavior (whether directly or by implication) as physical contact and advances; a demand or request for sexual favors; sexually colored remarks; showing pornography; any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non verbal conduct of sexual nature”. Circumstantial evidences suggests that sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a common occurrence, typically perpetrated by a person in a position of authority and the majority of women do not take action or lodge an official complaint for fear of being dismissed, thus losing their reputation or facing hostility and social stigma in the workplace. The Vishaka judgment came into effect almost a decade ago; but the efforts...
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