Sexual Harassment At Workplace
We are still carrying that legacy where women are treated as secondary to men. True, the times have changed with Industrial Revolution and then the technological advances; women have been recognized as equal to men all over. But the legacy which was carried from so many ages goes on and it takes time to change the mind sets of all Indians. The political system has to change and the entire systems ale customs like Sati etc. which are still rampant in some parts of India and yes the dowry system which is present everywhere have to go if women have to enjoy equal respect along with men. As long as these evil practices continue and till commercialization of women through each and every useless advertisement is practiced harassment of women not only in work place but in home, in street, in college everywhere will continue and male chauvinism tries to dominate the female submissiveness everywhere.
According to the Protection of Human Right Act, 1993 "human rights" means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India. It is necessary and expedient for employers in work places as well as other responsible persons or institutions to observe certain guidelines to ensure the prevention of sexual harassment of women as to live with dignity is a human right guaranteed by our constitution.
In India Sexual harassment has been termed as "Eve teasing" and is described as: unwelcome sexual gesture or behavior whether directly or indirectly as sexually colored remarks; physical contact and advances; showing pornography; a demand or request for sexual favors; any other unwelcome physical, verbal/non-verbal conduct being sexual in nature. The critical factor is the unwelcomed behavior, thereby making the impact of such actions on the recipient more relevant rather than intent of the perpetrator.
As per the Indian Constitution, sexual harassment infringes the fundamental right of a woman to gender equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India and her right to life and live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution. Although there is no specific law against sexual harassment at workplace in India but many provisions in other legislations protect against sexual harassment at workplace, such as Section 354, IPC deals with “assault or criminal force to a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty, and Section 509, IPC deals with “word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.
What amounts to sexual harassment?
In 1997 in Vishaka Vs. State of Rajasthan and others, for the first time sexual harassment had been explicitly- legally defined as an unwelcome sexual gesture or behaviour whether directly or indirectly as
1. Sexually coloured remarks
2. Physical contact and advances
3. Showing pornography
4. A demand or request for sexual favours
5. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal/non-verbal conduct being sexual in nature.
It was in this landmark case that the sexual harassment was identified as a separate illegal behaviour. The critical factor in sexual harassment is the unwelcomeness of the behaviour. Thereby making the impact of such actions on the recipient more relevant rather than intent of the perpetrator- which is to be considered.
In any kind of organization i.e. government, private or public enterprises such kind of conduct creates an apprehension in the minds of the employees that if they don’t perform the work given to them they will be one the victims of sexual harassment and thereby it creates fear in their minds. On the other hands it is also the employer who might threat the employee regarding there transfer, promotion etc. and it has been seen in the corporates that the employer do ask for some kind of favour in order to give the job, transfer or promotion or for that matter in order to increase...
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