#MeToo

Sexual Harassment at Workplace – Rationalizing Solution

Bhupender Singh for BeyondHeadlines

“A confuse law and a lack of organized system at work places poses a serious challenge to the purpose of law”, writes Bhupender Singh. He suggests: “to get fair justice Indian workplaces need to defeat the larger issue of positive gender assimilation.”

Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal has been accused of attempt to rape by one of her female colleague. Tehelka is an investigative journalism magazine which specializes in sting operations, exposing corrupt leaders and sexual violence against women. In last few years Tehelka has lost its old sheen. But journalist thought of Tejpal as campaigner of bottom dog. Not anymore. The victim has accused Tejpal of sexually exploiting her in a lift during a festival in Goa. The case got highlighted when emails were leaked to media.

Cases like this are not new in India. Unlike western countries where sexual harassment cases at workplace are considered to be normal talk, in India it is always scowled as a non-issue. In many of the cases people keep mum and they keep on suffering in silence.

Generally victims don’t report the harassment because of the feeling that they could be blamed for any unwelcome advances and also due to so many routes to complain – which could range from reporting to HR of your company to filing a lawsuit — in short they are hard to navigate.

To give constitutional inviolability to this sensitive topic, the union government implemented the Sexual Harassment Act 2013. This act is borrowed heavily from Vishakha guidelines of Supreme Court.  But a confuse law and a lack of organized system at work places poses a serious challenge to the purpose of law.

And if we assume that all rules and laws are in place then it is important the investigation process takes place in an effective manner. The law permits the formation of making an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to manage any complaint related to sexual harassment at workplace. And failure of not adhering with the rules can led to closure of firm. Also it is necessary to state that first point of resolution is within the organization and not outside.

In last to get fair justice Indian workplaces need to defeat the larger issue of positive gender assimilation.

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