Internal Complaints Committee formed as part of “The Sexual Harassment of Women at WorkPalce ( Prevention, Prohibition and redressal) Act 2013”
||Dr.Varsha Gathoo, Reader HOD,Dept. of Education
||Dr.S.B.Rathna Kumar, Lecturer
||Mr.P.M.Mathew, Computer Programmer
||Ms.Jayshree Rathod, Social Welfare Officer
||Dr.Srilatha Juva, Associate Professor, TISS, Deonar
ALI YAVAR JUNG NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SPEECH AND HEARING DISABILITIES (DIVYAGJAN)POLICY
PREVENTION, PROHOBITIONREDRESSAL OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT THE WORKPLACE
Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities (Divyagjan) [AYJNISHD(D)]is an autonomous organization under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment Government of India, New Delhi.
AYJNISHD (D) deals with various aspects of rehabilitation of the Hearing and Speech impaired to fulfill its objectives which are to facilitate Human Resource Development, Research, Educational Programmes, Service Facilities, Community Programmes, Material Development and Information and Documentation.
AYJNISHD (D), as an organization, respects the dignity of all employees working for AYJNISHD (D) irrespective of their gender, or position in AYJNISHD (D)’s hierarchy and expects responsible conduct and behavior on the part of all its employees.
As an organization it is committed to create a healthy, safe and conducive work environment free of harassment, exploitation and intimidation, for all persons associated with AYJNISHD (D), particularly its women employees students.
At AYJNISHD (D), we have zero-tolerance for sexual harassment. Any form of sexual harassment, particularly against women (employees and students) is not acceptable within the organization, beyond the confines of its offices, and at other locations travelled/visited for AYJNISHD (D)’s work.
To ensure employees students deliver their best at work, without fear of prejudice, gender bias and sexual harassment,AYJNISHD (D) has formulated its policy for . The policy described below is based on the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 here after referred to as the 'Act' and Rules framed there under.
This policy is applicable to all AYJNISHD(D)employees, students (enrolled for long term and short term courses) volunteers, contract workers, clients and their escorts and all visitors hereafter referred to as Stakeholders who visit AYJNISHD(D) and or live in its premises.
AYJNISHD (D) may make any alteration or amendment or rescind any of the clauses of this Policy as and when it finds it necessary to do so, as long as it complies with the provisions of the Act. Any such alterations, or amendment, or rescinding, will be intimated to the employees.The new guidelines/orders issued by Government of India regarding the Act also will form part of the policy.
OBJECTIVES OF THE POLICY
To implement the Act, and thereby the Policy in its true spirit.
To prevent all forms of sexual harassment of women at the work place and to provide a work environment for all women Stakeholders free from fear, reprisal, coercion, discrimination and harassment of a sexual nature.
To prevent discrimination and sexual harassment of women Stakeholders by making it clear that such behaviour and conduct is prohibited byAYJNISHD (D).
To encourage the early reporting of any allegations/complaints of sexual harassment of women and to ensure that complaints are dealt with in a sensitive, equitable, fair, timely and confidential manner, as per the principles of natural justice.
To ensure that all Stakeholders are acquainted with this Policy and are provided the necessary information and training where ever applicable to prevent and to handle complaints of sexual harassment of women.
SCOPE OF THE POLICY
The applies to all Stakeholders.
The Stakeholders may be appointed either directly, or through an agent, including a contractor. It may be withor without knowledge of AYJNISHD (D). The terms of employment may be expressed, or implied.
The application of and adherence to this Policy shall be incorporated in the service conditions/contracts/registrations of all Stakeholders, explicitly or by inference. All parties connected with AYJNISHD (D) are mandated to follow this Policy and to work collaboratively to prevent sexual harassment of women at AYJNISHD(D).
DEFINITIONS RELATED TO SEXAUL HARASSMENT
Woman Stakeholders: Any woman employed by AYJNISHD(D) whether regular, temporary, ad-hoc, or on a daily wage basis including probationers, trainees, interns, students, contract workers, consultants, volunteers and or persons addressed by any title, engaged by AYJNISHD(D).
Aggrieved Person: Any woman stakeholder who alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment.
An aggrieved woman stakeholder who files a complaint of sexual harassment under the Act/this Policy.
Respondent: Any person (employed, associated and visiting AYJNISHD(D)) against whom the aggrieved woman has complained.
Workplace: Includes all offices and centers of AYJNISHD(D), all instances reported within AYJNISHD(D) and in any place visited by its employees/students/interns arising out of, or during the course of employment/training/internship,including during travel in transport provided by AYJNISHD(D).
Presiding Officer: Chairwoman of the Internal Complaints Committee (IC)
Sexual Harassment: The Act defines Sexual Harassment as any one, or more of the below mentioned unwelcome sexual acts or behavior whether directly, or indirectly, as:
Physical contact and advances: assault, staring, or directing unreasonable attention at a woman in day-to-day dealings.
A demand or request for sexual favors: is made a condition for a woman’s employment, career progress, promotion etc. whether by words or actions, thereby creating a hostile environment.
Making sexually colored remarks: derogatory statements, slurs, jokes of an inappropriate nature to a woman.
Showing pornography: sexual visuals, sexual audios, or obscene material to a woman.
Any other unwelcome physical, verbal/non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Transmitting any message by mail, telephone, e-mail, social media etc. which is obscene, lewd, suggestive or blatantly sexual in nature.
Also, if the following circumstances, among other circumstances, occurs or is present in relation to, or connected with any act, or behavior of sexual harassment towards a woman, then that act or behavior would also amount to sexual harassment:
- Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment.
- Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment.
- Implied or explicit threat about a woman’s present or future employment status.
- Interference with work or creating an intimidating/hostile/offensive work environment.
- Humiliating treatment likely to affect a woman’s health and safety.
This is an indicative and not an exhaustive list of possible forms of sexual harassment.
THE GRIEVANCE RESOLUTION MECHANISM
AYJNISHD (D) has established the following process to ensure that any incidence of sexual harassment is dealt with appropriately, sensitively and expeditiously.
Internal Complaints Committee (IC):
The IC shall comprise of members sensitive towards women issues and or social cause:
Presiding Officer as a chairwomen (women- HOD/Senior officer of AYJNISHD (D)).
- Member (A women employee of AYJNISHD(D))
- Member (A women employee of AYJNISHD(D))
- Member (A male employee of AYJNISHD(D))
- Member (A male employee of AYJNISHD(D)
- A member of an NGO working/ experienced in dealing issues of sexual harassment of women preferably with a social work and or legal background.
Composition and Tenure of IC Members:
- The IC shall be headed by a woman.
- Not less than half of its members shall be women.
- An IC member shall hold office for period not exceeding 3 years from the date of nomination.
- In the event of any proven complaint against any member of the IC, the concerned member shall be removed from the IC and the vacancy shall be filled by a fresh nomination.
Role of the IC:
- To create and ensure a safe work environment that is free of sexual harassment, particularly of women employees students
- To maintain an atmosphere of equality and gender justice
- To publicize AYJNISHD(D)’s sexual harassment policy with the names and phone numbers of members of AYJNISHD(D)’s IC
- To take note of complaints of sexual harassment of women employees, to conduct enquiries, and to provide assistance
- To redress complaints of sexual harassment of women employees, recommend penalties andaction against the accused, if necessary
- To recommend to the concerned authorities, follow-up action and to monitor the same
- To prepare Annual Reports
Complaints’ Handling Process:
- Any aggrieved woman stakeholder may make a complaint of sexual harassment at her workplace, to the IC in writing, within a period of 3 months from the date of the incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of 3 months from the date of last incident.
- The IC may forreasons to be recorded in writing, extend the time limit for a further period of 3 months, if in the opinion of the IC, circumstances existed which prevented the aggrieved woman stakeholder from filing her complaint.
- Where an aggrieved woman stakeholder is unable to make a complaint in writing, the Presiding Officer, or any Member of the IC shall render all reasonable assistance to the woman stakeholder to make her complaint in writing.
- Where the aggrieved woman stakeholder is unable to make a complaint on account of her physical incapacity, a complaint may be filed by a relative or friend, or a co-worker, or an officer of the National Commission for Women or the State Women’s Commission; or any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent of the aggrieved woman stakeholder .
- Where the aggrieved woman stakeholder is unable to make a complaint on account of her mental incapacity, a complaint may be filed by a relative or friend, or a special educator, or a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist, or the guardian, or the authority under whose care she is receiving treatment or care, or any person who has knowledge of the incident, jointly with any of the above.
- Where the aggrieved woman stakeholder for any other reason is unable to make a complaint, a complaint may be filed by any person who has knowledge of the incident, with her written consent.
- Where the aggrieved woman stakeholder is dead, a complaint may be filed by any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent of her legal heir.
Manner of Inquiry:
- On receipt of a complaint from an aggrieved woman stakeholder (Complainant), the IC shall intimate the date, time and place of the hearing of the complaint to the Complainant and the Respondent.
- At the time of filing the complaint, the Complainant shall submit to the IC six copies of the complaint, along with supporting documents and names and addresses of witnesses, if any.
- On receipt of such complaint, the IC shall provide one copy of such complaint to the Respondent within 7 working days of its receipt of the complaint (with the consent of the Complainant.
- If the Complainant fears victimization and does not want to disclose her identity, then on the request of the Complainant, the IC Presiding Officer may frame charges in writing,based on the complaint letter received from the Complainant and send the same to the Respondent.
- The Respondent shall file his reply along with a list of documents, names and addresses of witnesses, within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint.
- The IC shall investigate a complaint in detail, using procedures in conformity with the principles of natural justice.
- The IC shall provide reasonable opportunity to the Complainant and the Respondent to present and defend her/his case, respectively.
- The IC shall have the right to summon as many times the Complainant, or the Respondent, or witnesses for the purpose of supplementary testimony or any clarification.
- The IC shall have the right to terminate the enquiry or to give an ex-parte decision on a complaint, if the Respondent or Complainant fails to be present for 3 consecutive hearings, without sufficient cause. Such termination or ex-parte order may not be passed without giving a notice in writing 15 days in advance to the concerned party.
- A quorum of 3 members is required to be present for an IC proceeding to take place.
- Additionally, the IC shall meet every quarter to ensure effective implementation of the Policy and to monitor effective/timely redressal of complaints, if any.
- Neither the Complainant nor the Respondent shall be allowed to bring any legal practitioner to represent them in their case at any stage of the proceedings before the IC.
- The IC must complete its investigation within a period of 90 days.
PENDENCY OF ENQUIRY
During the pendency of an IC enquiry, upon written request by the Complainant, the IC may at its discretion recommend:
The transfer of the Complainant or the Respondent to any otherworkplace;
Grant leave to the Complainant of upto three months which is inaddition to any leave to which she is otherwise entitled, provided, the Complainant tenders a justified reason for such transfer orleave, such as threat to her work, in the workplace;
Issue a restraint order to warn the Respondent that any attempt on his part, or by person(s) acting on his behalf, to contact or influence, or intimidate, or exert pressure on the Complainant or witnesses may prove prejudicial to his case;
Restrain the Respondent from reporting on the work performance or confidential report of the Complainant and assign the same to another officer;
Such other reliefs.
At the request of the Complainant, the IC, before initiating an enquiry, shall take steps to assist the parties settle the matter through conciliation, provided that no monetary settlement shall be made a basis of such conciliation.
Where the parties have arrived at a settlement, the IC shall record the settlement so arrived and forward the same to the management ofAYJNISHD(D).
The IC shall also provide a copy of the same to the Complainant and the Respondent and no further enquiry shall be conducted by the IC.
On arriving at a conclusion that the allegation against the Respondent is true, the IC shall make recommendations to the management of AYJNISHD(D) to take either one or combined action as given below, based on the impact of the harassment on the Complainant:
- Obtain a written apology from the Respondent
- Warn, reprimand or censure the Respondent
- Withhold promotion of the Respondent
- Withhold increments of pay of the Respondent
- Terminate the services of the Respondent at AYJNISHD(D)
- Compel the Respondent to pay a reasonable amount of compensation to the Complainant, and in case the Respondent fails to pay the amount, the same may be deducted from his salary every month
In case of contractual employees, the IC may recommend:
- Termination of contractual services of the Respondent and that the contracting agency replace the employee
- Warning and taking a written bond of good conduct from the Respondent and the contracting agency
- Compel the Respondent to pay a reasonable amount of compensation to the Complainant
Where an outsider or visitor is the perpetrator of sexual harassment on a woman employee, in addition to assisting the Complainant to initiate action under the Indian Penal Code of 1860, or any other law for the time being in force, the management of AYJNISHD(D) may pass and implement necessary orders restricting, the perpetrator’s entry into AYJNISHD(D)’s premises and forewarn him of criminal/legal action in case any trauma is caused to the Complainant, then or thereafter.
Special provisions to deal with threats or intimidation
With the recommendation of IC,the disciplinary authority may also dispense with inquiry and action may be taken without the inquiry when the disciplinary authority concludes that it is not reasonably practicable to hold such an inquiry due to threat or intimidation.
DETERMINATION OF COMPENSATION
Compensation to the Complainant shall be based on the following:
Mental trauma, pain, suffering and emotional distress caused to the Complainant;
Loss in career opportunity due to the incident/s of sexual harassment;
Medical expenses incurred by the Complainant for physical and psychiatric treatment;
Income andfinancial status of the Respondent;
Feasibility of such payment in lump sum or in installments.
The mAYJNISHD (D) shall act upon the final recommendations of the IC, within 60 days of its receipt of the recommendation.
FALSE AND MALICIOUS COMPLAINT
If the IC finds that the allegation against the Respondent is done with malicious intent by the Complainant/witnesses respectively, or if the Complainant/witnesses produced forged or misleading documents, the IC shall recommend to the mAYJNISHD(D)to take suitable action to prevent recurrence and to ensure that others are dissuaded from raising such false complaints.
Provided, that mere inability to substantiate a complaint, or to provide adequate proof of sexual harassment, need not attract action against the Complainant and further, that the malicious intent of the Complainant shall be established after an inquiry in accordance with the procedure prescribed above.
In case any decision by the IC is not acceptable to the Complainant and / or Respondent, they could further appeal to a court or tribunal as per the law within a period of 90 days.
The contents of the complaint made, the identity and address of the Complainant, the Respondent and any witnesses, any information relating to the conciliation and inquiry proceedings, recommendations of the IC, and the action taken by the employer, shall not be published, communicated or made known to the public, press or media in any manner, provided that information may be disseminated regarding the justice secured by any victim of sexual harassment.
AYJNISHD(D) shall recover a sum of Rs. 5000.00 (five thousand rupees) as penalty from any person who violates the confidentiality obligation under this Policy, apart from other disciplinary action.
DUTIES OF THE EMPLOYER
Provide a safe working environment at the workplace, which shall include safety of women coming into contact with men, at the workplace;
Display at conspicuous places in the workplace, the penal consequences of sexual harassment of women employees; and the order constituting the IC;
Declare names and contact details of all members of the IC;
Organize workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals to sensitize employees students with the provisions of the Act and to conduct orientation programmes for members of the IC;
Provide necessary facilities to the IC to deal with a complaint and to conduct an inquiry;
Assist in securing the attendance of the Respondent and witnesses before the IC;
Make available relevant information to the IC with regard to the complaint;
Provide assistance to the Complainant if she chooses to file a complaint against the Respondent in relation to a sexual harassment offence under the IPC or any other law for the time being in force;
Treat sexual harassment of women employees students as misconduct under the AYJNISHD(D)’s code of conduct and to initiate action when such misconduct occurs;
Monitor the timely submission of the Annual Report by the IC
Appropriate steps shall be taken to ensure that there shall be no retaliation against any Complainant or person who, in good faith, has participated in or provided information pertaining to incident/s of sexual harassment of women employees students, regardless of whether the complaint was upheld.
Individuals engaging in retaliatory conduct will be subject to disciplinary action by the AYJNISHD(D).
ADDITIONAL INITIATIVES FOR WOMEN’S SECURITY
Where AYJNISHD(D) is legally advised that any incident of sexual harassment of a woman employee students constitutes a criminal offence, AYJNISHD(D) shall inform the relevant authority, provide full details and request appropriate action.
If a Complainant directly takes any action, against the Respondent, either civil or criminal, the IC, on becoming aware of such action by the Complainant, shall be entitled to, suo moto, start an internal enquiry / investigation and recommend appropriate action.
AYJNISHD(D) shall ensure that the career interests of the Complainant are not adversely affected by virtue of the individual having drawn attention to an incident of sexual harassment.
If the IC receives an anonymous reference related to a case of sexual harassment of a woman employee or student, it shall draw the attention of the Head of the Department/ Regional heads/Sectional officer/In charge concerned with the relevant location. The matter shall be fully examined by the concerned Head of the Department/ Regional heads/Sectional in charge and her/his conclusions and plans for necessary action will be communicated to the IC.
Heads of departments and senior management at all AYJNISHD(D) locations shall be expected to be sensitive to any circumstances or behavior among their colleagues, which appear to go against AYJNISHD(D)’s policy on prevention of sexual harassment of women employees students at the workplace. In case they become aware of any such incident, they shall immediately inform the Presiding Officer of the IC and take appropriate action.
Women employees students travelling on AYJNISHD (D) work must inform their supervisors of the dates, duration, location, and purpose of a visit.
Contact information of a partner organization being visited by a woman employee students must be documented and provided to an AYJNISHD (D) supervisor.