Sexual harassment at workplace is a serious issue and it’s a criminal offence as per law. According a recent study done by United Nations’ International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than one in five people) experienced violence and harassment at work place of physical, psychological or sexual nature. The sexual harassment at workplace includes a demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks and unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
Though women are more vulnerable to sexual harassment at workplace, in certain cases men could be the victims also. Unwanted advances from a coworker, touching or attention, teasing, mocking or offensive jokes with an intention of sexual favour could also be a part of sexual harassment at workplace and it could be extremely disturbing for the employees both mentally and physically.
If you ever find yourself in a situation at work where you feel you are being sexually harassed or you notice any of your colleagues encountering the same don’t hesitate to raise your voice.
Let us walk you through 5 effective strategies for preventing sexual harassment at work place and holding the perpetrators accountable.
Understand your legal rights. Every company has an employee handbook that outlines the steps to take if you feel you have been sexually harassed at workplace. As per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, every organisation with more than ten employees is mandated to have a mechanism for prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment at workplace.
Respect your emotions
Don’t think you’re overreacting or being overly sensitive. Maintain your firm stand on your convictions. Many people struggle with this because they want to be liked by everyone. So what if someone who makes you uncomfortable doesn’t like you? Your happiness and well-being are far more important than being liked by people who dislike you.
When someone says or does something that makes you uncomfortable, stand up and speak against it in a firm voice, louder than you normally say.
Contact a lawyer
First file a complaint with the internal complaints committee (ICC) and if you feel justice is not delivered to you have the right to move to court. You can consult a lawyer for legal advice.
Document and report
You should report any instance of sexual harassment as soon as possible and ensure your safety. Include a brief description of what happened, who was harassed and by whom, the location, the date, and the time, as well as the names of any witnesses. A copy of the complaint should be kept by you.
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