The Legal definition of Sexual Harassment varies by jurisdiction. Sexual harassment in the workplace is one of those that exists in the employee’s. There is no general prohibition against harassment may include verbal abuse, epithets, sexually explicit or derogatory language, display of offensive cartoons or materials mimicry, Lewd and offensive gestures and telling of jokes, offensive to the above protected class members.
Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates title VII of the civil rights of 1964, Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on religion, race , caste, color, sex, disability. The Harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, in the another case an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non- employee. Both the victim and harasser can be either a women or a man , and the victim and the victim and the harasser can be the same sex.
In practical terms : there are two forms of sexual harassment .
1) Quid Pro- Quo ( ‘this for that’) : when employment decisions or expectations (e.g. hiring , promotion, salary increases, are based on an employer’s willingness to grant or deny sexual favors , examples of Quid Pro Quo Harassment include :-
– Demanding sexual favours for a promotion or a raise.
– Discipling or firing or subordinate who ends a romance.
– Changing work standards after a subordinate refuses requests for date.
2) Hostile Environment : A work environment is ” hostile” when unwelcome verbal , non- verbal, or physical behavior focusing on sexuality is severe. Examples : Verbal – sexual jokes or insults, comments about person’s body or sex life. Non- Verbal – Making gestures or staring, giving sexuality suggestive gifts. Physical – hugging, kissing, touching, patting, Blocking a person’s movement.
Fives simple steps to prevent sexual harassment.
1) Get High-Level Management Support – Obtain high level management support from the chief executive officer and senior management for implementing comprehensive, strategy to address sexual harassment.
2) Create positive work place environment – Remove offensive, sexual explicit or pornographic calenders, posters and other materials from the work place . Develop a policy prohibits in appropriate use of computer technology such as email, screen savers, and the internet.
3) Encourage appropriate conduct by managers – Line managers should understand the need to model appropriate standard of professional conduct at all time. Including accountability mechanisms in position descriptions for manager. Check that managers are fulfilling their responsibilities through performance appraisal schemes. Check that managers are fulfilling their responsibilities through performance appraisal schemes.
4) Write and implement a sexual Harassment policy – develop written policy which prohibits sexual harassment in consultation with state. periodically review the policy to ensure it is operating effectively and contains up-to-date information.
5) Provide Regular Training and information on sexual harassment to all staff and management – display anti-sexual harassment posters on notice boards in common work areas and distribute relevant brochures.
Neha Khatri (Advocate)
(DELHI HIGH COURT)
Master of Law (LL.M.)
UNIVERSITY OF PETROLEUM AND ENERGY