As enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of India, “equality of status and opportunity” must be secured for all its citizens; equality of every person under the law is guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.A safe academic workplace is therefore a woman’s legal right. Indeed, the Constitutional doctrine of equality and personal liberty is contained in Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. These articles ensure a person’s right to equal protection under the law, to live a life free from discrimination on any ground and to protection of life and personal liberty. This is further reinforced by the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and which is ratified by India. Often described as an international bill of rights for women, it calls for the equality of women and men in terms of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural and civil spheres. It underlines that discrimination and attacks on women’s dignity violate the principle of equality of rights.
The Supreme Court defined sexual harassment as any unwelcome, sexually determined physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct. Examples included sexually suggestive remarks about women, demands for sexual favours, and sexually offensive visuals in the workplace. The definition also covered situations where a woman could be disadvantaged in her workplace as a result of threats relating to employment decisions that could negatively affect her working life.
“Sexual Harassment” includes anyone or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication), namely:
1. Physical contact or advances;
2. A demand or request for sexual favours;
3. Making sexually coloured remarks;
4. Showing pornography;
5. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Some examples of behaviour that constitute sexual harassment at the workplace:
1. Making sexually suggestive remarks or innuendos.
2. Serious or repeated offensive remarks, such as teasing related to a person’s body or appearance.
3. Offensive comments or jokes.
4. Inappropriate questions, suggestions or remarks about a person’s sex life.
5. Displaying sexist or other offensive pictures, posters, mms, sms, whatsapp, or e-mails.
6. Intimidation, threats, blackmail around sexual favours.
7. Threats, intimidation or retaliation against an employee who speaks up about unwelcome behaviour with sexual overtones.
8. Unwelcome social invitations, with sexual overtones commonly understood as flirting.
9. Unwelcome sexual advances which may or may not be accompanied by promises or threats, explicit or implicit.
10. Physical contact such as touching or pinching.
11. Caressing, kissing or fondling someone against her will (could be considered assault).
12. Invasion of personal space (getting too close for no reason, brushing against or cornering someone).
13. Persistently asking someone out, despite being turned down.
14. Stalking an individual.
15. Abuse of authority or power to threaten a person’s job or undermine her performance against sexual favours.
16. Falsely accusing and undermining a person behind closed doors for sexual favours.
17. Controlling a person’s reputation by rumour-mongering about her private life.
Some examples of behaviour that may indicate underlying workplace sexual harassment and merit inquiry:
1. Criticizing, insulting, blaming, reprimanding or condemning an employee in public
. 2. Exclusion from group activities or assignments without a valid reason.
3. Statements damaging a person’s reputation or career.
4. Removing areas of responsibility, unjustifiably.
5. Inappropriately giving too little or too much work.
6. Constantly overruling authority without just cause.
7. Unjustifiably monitoring everything that is done.
8. Blaming an individual constantly for errors without just cause.
9. Repeatedly singling out an employee by assigning her with demeaning and belittling jobs that are not part of her regular duties.
10. Insults or humiliations, repeated attempts to exclude or isolate a person.
11. Systematically interfering with normal work conditions, sabotaging places or instruments of work.
12. Humiliating a person in front of colleagues, engaging in smear campaigns.
13. Arbitrarily taking disciplinary action against an employee.
14. Controlling the person by withholding resources (time, budget, autonomy, and training) necessary to succeed.
Under the Chairmanship of Principal of our institute, the cell regularly discuss about the probability and preventive measures regarding sexual harassment within the campus. Till date no such occurance regarding sexual harassment has yet been taken place in our institute. Nevertheless we have framed a general policy for resolving the cases if occur in future.