The act was passed in the consummation of Vishakha guidelines given by the honorable Supreme Court of India in 1997. This law protects the woman from any workplace harassment. In the Vishakha and others the State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court released some guidelines.
Most importantly, the instructions made it mandatory for employers to take some actions to ensure the prevention of such incidents. This law was passed in the Lok Sabha on 3, September 2012 and in the Rajya Sabha on 23, April 2013.
Furthermore, despite signing the ‘Convention on Elimination Of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), no laws were there in India in the progression of it. Therefore, the act was an attempt towards the furtherance of it.
The scope of the Law against workplace harassment
The law covers all the colleges as well as schools. Any public or private place also comes under the roof of this law.
Recently, Armed Forces Tribunal also decided to extend this law to Army men.
Why was the law necessary?
First of all, there was a very urgent requirement for the existence of this law. It aims to protect women from workplace harassment. Therefore, the law was necessary to realize gender equality in the workplace. This law seeks to prevent the rebellious and hostile environment in the workplace.
Moreover, the law aimed to protect the fundamental rights under section 14, 15, 19(1)(g). It is to intend social development and growth. The law takes care of the provisions of Article 42.
Main Features of the workplace harassment Act
The law gives a well-defined and well-structured definition of sexual harassment of women at the place of work. The main highlights of the law were:
- Any physical or intimate contact against the will of the women is a crime.
- Any demand or enactment of sexual activity from the women is punishable.
- Showing any pornographic content to the women against her will is a crime.
- Any person making any sexual remarks will be punishable under the law.
- Any woman who is a patient in a hospital, employed in an organization as salaried or a daily wage worker, a student or researcher, etc. qualifies for the protection under this law.
- There was also a redressal process for the victim to appeal for any immunity.
- It was necessary for employers to conduct various educational and awareness programmes regarding the same.
- The act also protects against any false allegation.
- Any organization not adhering to the guidelines will get fine up to 50,000 INR. In the case of repeated violations, the license or the registration number can be annulled.
The process of filing the complaint against workplace harassment
It is necessary to submit the complaint within the three months of the happening of the incident.
If the woman is not in a state of mind to file the complaint, any relative or friend or co-worker or the State Women’s Commission officer or the National Commission for woman officer can file the complaint with the written consent of the innocent.
Noticeable features of the Vishakha Guidelines
Under the Vishakha Guidelines, gender equality protects from any sexual or workplace harassment. Every woman has the right to work with pride and dignity.
Any working woman has the fundamental right to work in a safe working environment. Moreover, it is the primary duty of the employer or organization to provide the type of workplace in which a woman can work securely and safely.
There must be no discrimination against working women in the workplace. The protection of the women also includes the protection at the branches, any organizational function or meeting, any event of the organization, etc.
Solved Question on Harassment of Women at Workplace
Q. Any woman who is a patient in a hospital, employed in an organization as salaried or a daily wage worker, a student or researcher, etc. does not qualify for the protection under this law.
c. Cannot say
Ans. b (False)
Any woman who is a patient in a hospital, employed in an organization as salaried or a daily wage worker, a student or researcher, etc. qualifies for the protection under this law.