Laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Vishaka and Others Vs. State of Rajasthan and Others
Sexual harassment includes such unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication) as:
a) Physical contact and advances;
b) A demand or request for sexual favours;
c) Sexually coloured remarks;
d) Showing pornography;
e) Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
Where any of these acts is committed in circumstances where-under the victim of such conduct has a reasonable apprehension that in relation to the victim’s employment or work whether she is drawing salary, or honorarium or voluntary, whether in government, public or private enterprise such conduct can be humiliating and may constitute a health and safety problem.
It is discriminatory for instance when the woman has reasonable grounds to believe that her objection would disadvantage her in connection with her employment or work including recruiting or promotion or when it creates a hostile work environment. Adverse consequences might be visited if the victim does not consent to the conduct in question or raises any objection thereto.
Duty of Employer or other responsible persons in work places or other institutions:
● To prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment,
● To provide the procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts, of sexual harassment by taking all steps required.
● Should take appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment
Steps to be taken by employers or persons in charge of workplace whether in public or private sector:
● Express prohibition of sexual harassment as defined above at the work place should be notified, published and circulated in appropriate ways.
● The Rules/Regulations of Government and Public Sector bodies relating to conduct and discipline should include rules/regulations prohibiting sexual harassment and provide for appropriate penalties in such rules against the offender.
● As regards private employers, steps should be taken to include the aforesaid prohibitions in the standing orders under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
● Appropriate work conditions should be provided in respect of work, leisure, health and hygiene to further ensure that there is no hostile environment towards women at work places and no employee woman should have reasonable grounds to believe that she is disadvantaged in connection with her employment.
● Whether or not such conduct constitutes an offence under law or a breach of the service rules, an appropriate Complaint Mechanism should be created in the employer’s organisation for redress of the complaint made by the victim.
● Such a complaint mechanism should ensure time bound treatment of complaints.
● The complaint mechanism, referred to above, should be adequate to provide, where necessary, a Complaints Committee, a special counsellor or other support service, including the maintenance of confidentiality.
● The Complaints Committee should be headed by a woman and not less than half of its members should be women. Further, to prevent the possibility of any undue pressure or influence from senior levels, such Complaints Committee should involve a third party, either NGO or other body who is familiar with the issue of sexual harassment.
• The Complaints Committee must make an annual report to the Government department concerned of the complaints and action taken by them.
● The employers and person in charge will also report on the compliance with the aforesaid guidelines including on the reports of the Complaints Committee to the Government department.