Friday, November 5, 2010

The Bill on sexual harassment at workplaces provides effective redressal mechanism

NEW DELHI: The union cabinet on Thursday approved a proposed bill to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace.
The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010, which was formulated after extensive consultations between the ministries of women and child development and law along with several other stakeholders, defines sexual harassment and provides for an effective complaint and redressal mechanism.

“The bill will ensure a safe environment for women at the workplace, both in the public and private sectors, whether organised or unorganised. The measure will help in achieving gender empowerment and equality,” an official statement said Thursday.
The bill defines sexual harassment as spelt out in the historic judgment of the Supreme Court in the “Vishaka v/s State of Rajasthan” case in 1997. Under the judgment, acts like passing a sexually coloured remark, physical contact and advance, showing pornography, a demand or request for sexual favours, or any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct was defined as sexual harassment.
“Additionally, it recognises the promise of or threat to a woman’s employment prospects or creation of hostile work environment as ‘sexual harassment’ at the workplace and expressly seeks to prohibit such acts,” the release said. Approved for introduction in parliament, officials from the women and child development ministry say the draft legislation is likely to be tabled in the winter session itself. PTI

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