Here is a summary of the Act aimed at prevention and redressal of sexual harassment of women at workplaces. The summary covers all important provisions of the Act and provides a quick, lucid summary of the Act.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, provides for civil remedy to victims of sexual harassment at workplaces.
The Act applies to all workplaces-governmental or private. For governmental workplaces, the Act will also apply to those situated abroad.
The Act also applies to maid servants employed in households.
Reliefs which can be obtained include compensation, punishment for respondent under the Service Rules concerned or Rules framed under the Act.
- Maid servantsare included in the ambit of sexual harassment. All workplaces, whether private of governmental are included.
1.1 Every employer to establish Internal Complaints Committee at workplace.
1.2 . Appropriate Govt.- In relation to the Act, appropriate govt. means state govt. if workplace or organisation is established/managed/financed by state govt. If it’s established/managed/financed by central govt., then appropriate govt. will be central govt. In any other case, it would be state govt. within whose territory the workplace is situated.
- Members of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)-
- presiding officer-1 senior level woman employee. If not available within the unit, then to be appointed from some other unit.
- 2 other employees- preferably committed to cause of women or having legal knowledge.
- 1 member from NGO.
- Duration of office- 3 years
- DM/ADM/Collector/Deputy Collector to be appointed as District Officerby the appropriate government.
- District Officer to constitute Local Complaints Committee (LCC)in every district for receiving complaints regarding workplaces where there is no ICC. Nodal officers in block, tehsil and taluka level to forward complaints to LCC.
- Composition of LCC–
- 1 member-chairperson-from women working in social field in district or municipality.
- 1 member from amongst women working in block, tehshil or taluka in the district.
- 2 members, one of which is woman, from NGO working in field.
- ex officio member- officer dealing with women and child development in the district.
Duration- 3 years
- Complaint-in writing to ICC or LCC (if no ICC)
limitation: 3 months from incident
if cannot be made in writing, member of ICC or LCC will provide all possible assistance.
- Before inquiry, ICC or LCC to attempt conciliationat request of victim. Money cannot be basis of settlement.
- Inquiry- ICC or LCC to proceed for inquiry.
In case of domestic worker, LCC will forward complaint to police for registration of case u/s 509 IPC (outraging modesty by words or gestures) if prima facie satisfied.
- ICC and LCC have powers of civil court for summoning persons/documents etc.
Inquiry to be completed within 90 days.
- Action during inquiry: ICC or LOC may transfer victimor respondent.
may grant leave of 3 months in addition to usual leaves of women.
- Findings to be given to employer or district officer within 10 daysof completion of inquiry.
Copies to be provided to parties.
- appropriate action under service rules or as may be prescribed in rules.
- deduction of compensation from salary of employee.
- may direct employer to pay sum to victim.
Employer/District Officer to act within 60 days.
- Action can be taken against woman for false complaint as per service rules or as may be prescribed in rules under the Act.
- Factors for deciding compensation:
mental trauma, loss of career opportunities, medical expenses
- Provision of appealagainst recommendations as per service rules or as may be prescribed.
- Employer to provide all assistance to victimand to publish at conspicuous place in office about sexual harassment offences and constitution of ICC. Would also ensure reporting of offences of sexual harassment to police.
- ICC/LCC to prepare annual reportand furnish it to employer/district officer.
- Appropriate government to keep watch on functioning of Act and to call and inspect records of ICC/LCC.
- If employer fails to act under the Act- fine of Rs. 50,000/-. Twice on subsequent conviction. JMFC to take cognizance.
- Government to make rules for administration of the Act.