Dear Reader/Manager HR,
As an example I have taken business name as “Aequitas Infotech” in this article which you can change and utilize the same for your business.
Aequitas Infotech is committed to ensuring employees are treated fairly and equitably in an environment free of intimidation and sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is an unacceptable form of behaviour which will not be tolerated under any circumstances. It is also unlawful. All complaints of sexual harassment will be treated seriously and promptly, with due regard to confidentiality. Disciplinary action will be taken against any employee who breaches the policy.
Sexual harassment is any unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature which makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended. Sexual harassment can take many different forms and may include physical contact, verbal comments, jokes, propositions, the displaying of offensive material or other behaviour which creates a sexually tense or hostile working environment. Sexual harassment can occur between an employee and a co-worker, supervisor, manager, agent, consultant or contractor.
Sexual harassment is not just unlawful during working hours or in the workplace itself. The behaviour is unlawful in any work-related context, including conferences, work functions, business or field trips, and interactions with clients.
Aequitas Infotech encourages any employee who feels they have been harassed to contact a company manager. The company aims to provide a working environment which is free of workplace harassment or intimidation.
Aequitas Infotech recognizes comments and behaviour which do not offend one person can offend another. Management accepts individuals may react differently and expects this right to be generally respected.
Any complaints or reports of sexual harassment will be treated promptly, seriously and sympathetically. They will be investigated thoroughly, impartially and confidentially. Managers and supervisors must act immediately on any reports of sexual harassment. Employees will not be disadvantaged in their employment conditions or opportunities as a result of lodging a complaint.
Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against anyone in this company’s employment who is found to have sexually harassed a co-worker. Depending on the severity of the case, consequences can include an apology, counseling, transfer, dismissal, demotion or other forms of disciplinary action. Immediate disciplinary action will also be taken against anyone who victimizes or retaliates against a person who has complained of sexual harassment.
Aequitas Infotech has a legal responsibility to prevent sexual harassment.
Therefore, managers and supervisors have a responsibility to:
- Monitor the working environment to ensure acceptable standards of conduct are observed at all times
- Model appropriate behavior themselves
- Treat all complaints seriously and take immediate action to investigate and resolve the matter
- Refer complaints to another manager if they do not feel they are the best person to deal with the case (e.g. if there is a conflict of interest or if the complaint is particularly complex or serious)
All employees have a responsibility to:
- Comply with the organization’s sexual harassment policy
- Offer support to anyone who is being harassed and let them know where they can get help and advice (they should not approach the harasser themselves)
- Maintain complete confidentiality if they provide information during the investigation of a complaint (employees who spread gossip or rumors may expose themselves to defamation action)
Internal Complain Committee for Sexual Harassment
|Mr. Pravin Madalia Parmar||Committee Head|
|Mr. ABC||Committee Member|
|Ms. XYZ||Committee Member|
|Mr. John||Committee Member|
Responsibilities of the Committee
- When an alleged incident of sexual harassment is reported to the committee, the investigation must be initiated within 24 hours and acknowledge to the employee.
- The employee alleging sexual harassment should be informed that the committee will investigate all allegations of sexual harassment and take immediate appropriate corrective action in response to all substantiated charges.
- The employee alleging sexual harassment must be informed that the committee will ensure confidentiality and that they (the complaining employee and all witnesses) will not be retaliated against as a result of participating in the investigation.
- The committee to conduct enquiry and find out the facts before taking required actions.
- The committee to close the complaint with appropriate actions within 30 working days of the complaint launch.
- To act as Inquiry Authority on a complaint of sexual harassment.
- To ensure that victims and witnesses are not victimized or discriminated because of their complaint.
- To take proactive measures towards sensitization of the staff on gender issues.
- Ensure that all complaints are received in writing. This will facilitate maintenance of records. In addition, this will also minimize the possibility of misinterpretation and misrepresentation. If the complainant is illiterate, the complaints could be written with the help of a friend or support group.
- Ensure that your body language communicates complete attention to the complainant and accused.
- Treat the complainant with respect.
- Discard pre-determined notions of how a victim or accused should look or behave. Beware of stereotypes.
- Sexual harassment can be by a person of the opposite sex and/or the same sex. This is an important point that the committee would do well to remember at all times.
Do’s of the Committee
- Provide safety for friends and supporters of complainant.
- Appoint complaints officers — one man and one woman — to serve as first point of contact.
- Complaints officers should be members of the committee.
- Authorize complaints officers to resolve the issue without the committee’s intervention. If unresolved to the complainant’s satisfaction, the complaint should go to the committee.
- Use a cheerful, comfortable, airy room for meeting the complainant.
- All sexual crimes are committed in private, so there may not be eyewitnesses.
- Consult the complainant for punitive action.
- If the management does not accept the recommended action, it should give three valid reasons.
- Help the complainant regain her/his self-respect and dignity.
Don’ts of the committee
- Do not under any circumstances get aggressive.
- Do not insist on a detailed description of harassment. This could increase the complainant’s trauma.
- Remember this is a human rights issue, therefore do not give too much weight to intention, and focus on impact.
- ‘Proof beyond reasonable doubt’ is not required, strong probability is sufficient.
- Do not allow for interruptions while talking to the complainant and/or accused.
- Do not try and determine the impact of the harassment on the complainant. Let the complainant determine it. Help the complainant, if necessary.
- Do not discuss the complaint among yourselves in the presence of the complainant or accused.