NEW DELHI: Victims of sexual harassment at workplace will now get an opportunity to challenge the report of an in-house probe committee before its final verdict, in case it does not recommend suitable charges against the accused.
In cases where a complaint committee has not recommended any action against the employee against whom the allegation is made in a case involving charges of sexual harassment, the Disciplinary Authority shall supply a copy of the committee’s report to the complainant, as per new rules formed by the Personnel Ministry.
The Disciplinary Authority, which may be the officer-in- charge concerned, shall consider her representation, if any submitted, before coming to a final conclusion, it said.
Such representation shall be deemed to be an appeal as per the relevant provision of Harassment of Women at Workplace (Pre-vention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the rules said. The new rules are aimed at providing more security to women government employees at workplace and avoid any litigation in such cases.
“With the new measure, a victim need not to go for appeal to tribunal or court challenging the final verdict instead she will get get an opportunity to file an appeal against the decision (which is not favourbale to her) by the committee,” a senior Personnel Ministry official said.
Existing rules allow appeal by complainants in tribunal or court against the final order only.
Sexual harassment includes physical contact and advances, demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing any pornography and any other unwelcome physical, verbal, non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Besides, implied, explicit promise of preferential or detrimental treatment in employment; implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; interference in her work, creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile work environment for her; and humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety may also amount to sexual harassment.