The Article by Mr Kanishk Agarwal, Founder of CriTaxCorp. The author is a lawyer and having a diverse experience in the fields of Criminal, Taxation and Corporate law.
In today’s time when we talk about gender equality, women matching footsteps of men at every place, be it offices, factories, industries, everywhere, we feel happy, contended. But is that happiness a reality?
We often hear women working even in big companies, offices suffering from sexual harassment. They are persistently bothered by male colleagues and then we see a sudden transformation of a career oriented into a fugitive female or a homemaker.
Women need to realize that we are in the 21st century, we might live in a male dominating society, but we still have an option to fight against the sexual harassment at workplace. Let’s look at some of the options women have:
- Point out to the harasser: The first and foremost step should be, pointing out to the harasser that his behavior is felonious and unwelcomed. There are possibilities that the harassment is unintentional. Pointing out makes the man clear as well as the chances of taking the excuse of faux pas later are also ruled out. Confronting the person in a strict tone sometimes puts the end to the situation there and then.
- Internal complaint committee: Look out for the internal complaint committee. Usually modern setups have such committees in their offices. If the harasser does not stop even after pointing out very clearly then the best thing is that you let him know that you are aware of such committee and such behavior shall not be tolerated any more.
- Gather evidences: Substantiating your claim is must. Start gathering evidences so that you can make a point while reaching out to the officials. Try using your mobile phone’s sound recorder to discreetly record his remarks, comments. If required use the camera or video recorder as well.
- Complain: The next step is to make a complaint. Know your rights, learn about the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013. Make a visit to the internal complaint committee, let them know of the tries you have made to stop the harasser. Make it sure that the committee members take your complain serious enough.
- Application: Write an application, even if the situation demands meeting somebody or calling somebody. Write each and every detail about sexual comments, remarks, despised behavior, emails and messages.
- Reach out: Reach out with your complaint to the concerned person, designated to handle such incidents, usually the HR manager of an organization is equipped to deal with such matters. One should not be confronting the incident/s with any third person, however, if you are confronting or reaching out to discuss it with your closed colleagues then be careful, the person should be trustworthy and unprejudiced. Ask the necessary way forward. Sensitize the HR about the issue and how awkward you have lately been feeling. Inform them that how such action is impacting your career and shacking your belief in the culture of organization and the uncomfortable scenario you have been put in, due to the misbehavior of the harasser. Try to arrange a meeting of all the officials with the harasser in this regard.
- Say no to advices of suggestive comments: One should never go for taking the suggestive comments from anybody. This might make the issue bigger. Do not let the ball fall out of your grip as the discussion of such incident/s may lead to breach of confidentiality which is an essential part of the complaint process and may land up the victim in hot soup by the disciplinary board.
- Conflict of ICC member interest: One should express his/her concerns over the constitution of ICC members, if the victim / harasser feels that a member of ICC is directly under supervision of the victim / harasser or is related to him/her then recusal of such member should be demanded from such particular complaint.
Don’t let anybody take the issue leniently or negatively. Be morally right and don’t feel vulnerable in the situation. Leaving job should be the last option in your mind.