Legal consequences of sexual harassment at the workplace
Consequences of sexual harassment at workplace.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was enacted after the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment in Vishaka & Ors vs State of Rajasthan & Ors.

Section 2(n) of the 2013 Act defines sexual harassment. If a man tries to have physical contact with any woman by kissing or touching her repeatedly without her consent or is asking for sexual favours or forcing her to see porn videos or nude pictures against her will, all this amounts to sexual harassment.

It includes unwelcome conduct combined with sexuality or sexual overtones, which refers to the advances, requests which were not solicited or invited by the employee, and the employee regarded that behaviour as offensive or undesirable.

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In all these situations, a complaint about sexual harassment can be filed against the accused under section 9 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act.

Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, deals with punishment for sexual harassment, wherein the accused can be punished with rigorous imprisonment for up to three years or a fine or both.

Also, if a man makes sexually coloured remarks, like passing vulgar comments or asking inappropriate questions, in that case, he shall be punished with imprisonment up to one year or fine or both.

Under section 3 of the 2013 Act, the employer is bound to constitute an internal complaint committee or local committee in writing to prevent sexual harassment.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was also enacted to protect and safeguard the sexuality, dignity, and morality of women working at their workplace.

In a Calcutta High Court judgment, it was stated that sexual harassment complaints under the 2013 Act could also be filed against the same gender. Section 2(n) of the 2013 Act defines sexual harassment, wherein it is nowhere mentioned that only a man can be accused of sexual harassment. In fact, under section 9 of the Act, a complaint about sexual harassment can be filed against the accused irrespective of his/her gender.

Read Next:
1. What Are the Consequences of Sexual Harassment in India?
2. What Are the Rights of Private Sector Employees in India?
3. What Is Moonlighting and What Are Its Impacts?

Ankita Trivedi
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