- Preamble to the Policy
The Parliament of India has passed the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (henceforth referred to as the Act, 2013) with the object of providing prevention against sexual harassment of women at the workplace. The Act 2013 provides for the redressal of complaints of Sexual Harassment in the workplace. This will also make India compliant to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women).
B-ABLE is an equal employment opportunity Company and is committed to creating a healthy working environment that enables employees to work without fear of prejudice, gender bias and sexual harassment. The Company also believes that all associates of the Company have the right to be treated with dignity.
B-ABLE has adopted the draft policy presented to the Board on February 2014 towards the prevention of sexual harassment at Workplace in compliance with The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, that seeks to prevent and address Sexual harassment t of women at their place of work.
3. Scope and Effective Date
- This Policy extends to all associates of the Company and is deemed to be incorporated in the service conditions of all associates and comes into effect immediately.
- “Associate” means any person on the rolls of the Company including those on deputation, any contractual staff, any individual working as temporary, intern, part time or consultant.
- “Workplace” implies extended workplace including travel, lodging, place of stay, place of work, which is provided by the company as well as other locales in which office/office-related duties/activities are conducted including field locations where interactions/ transactions take place. The workplace includes:
- All offices or other premises where the Company’s business is conducted.
- All company-related activities performed at any other site away from the Company’s premises.
- Any social, business or other functions where there is a relationship of work relations.
- “Complainant” means the individual, who has made the complaint of sexual harassment.
- “Respondent” means a person against whom the Complainant has made a complaint.
- Definition of Sexual Harassment :
Sexual harassment is the effect of any unwelcome sexual conduct or act by an individual that is directed at and offensive to another individual in the workplace and/or which has violated the rights, self-respect and dignity as an employee and a human being and/or violated the law of the land on the prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace.
Sexual harassment would mean and include any of the following (in addition to the meaning provided in section 2 (n) of the Act):
- Unwelcome undesirable sexual advances, requests or demand for sexual favours, either explicitly or implicitly, in return for employment, promotion, examination or evaluation of a person towards any company activity;
- Unwelcome sexual advances involving verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct such as sexually coloured remarks, jokes, letters, phone calls, e-mail, gestures, showing of pornography, lurid stares, physical contact or molestation, stalking, sounds, display of pictures, signs, verbal or non-verbal communication which offends the individuals’ sensibilities and affect her/his performance;
- Eve teasing, innuendos and taunts, physical confinement against one’s will and likely to intrude upon one’s privacy;
- Act or conduct by a person in authority which creates an environment at the workplace that is hostile or intimidating to a person belonging to the other sex;
- Conduct of such an act at work place or outside in relation to an associate of the Company, or vice versa during the course of employment; and
- Any unwelcome gesture by an associate having sexual overtones
- Sexual Harassment is discriminatory when submission to the conduct or action specified above is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of services accruing to an individual or an individual’s employment or progress.
- Unwelcome sexual conduct forces an employee to get exposed to and/or submit to requests, favours, threats, demands or displays that interfere with a stress-free healthy work environment and/or creates mental trauma.
- Sexual Harassment includes but is not restricted to unwelcome behaviour making a person the object of sexual discourse/gaze/desire and/ or contributes to a hostile working environment, whether through visual displays, verbal, non-verbal, electronic, photographic, physical or other conduct.
- Sexual Harassment could be a single incident or persistent behaviour; directed towards a single individual or more. It is an issue of impact of the behaviour on the recipient and not intent of the perpetrator.
- Sexual Harassment typically is categorized into two types:
- “Hostile Work Environment Harassment”: Hostile Work Environment Harassment is generally the more pervasive form of sexual harassment involving work conditions or behaviour that make the work environment intimidating and / or offensive. Typically, there is no direct link between the unwelcome sexual conduct and a tangible job benefit or detriment in hostile environment cases.
- “Quid Pro Quo (this for that) Harassment”: Sexual Harassment is considered “quid pro quo” harassment (or Discriminatory) when it involves the solicitation of sexual favours in exchange for some type of employment decision, and/ or credit services outcome, and/or there is a retaliation/negative sanction on refusal to comply. Preferential Treatment also may constitute quid pro quo harassment
4. Guiding Principles
- Zero Tolerance:The policy is directed to ensure zero tolerance towards any form or type of Sexual harassment by any employee or stakeholder that directly or indirectly harasses, disrupts, or interfaces with another’s work performance or that creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment.
- Investigations in time bound manner: Focus would be to ensure that all allegations of sexual harassment are investigated and dealt with effectively, appropriately, as well as promptly in a time-bound manner, as mandated by the Act, 2013.
- Confidentiality: The Company understands that it is very often difficult for the Complainant to come forward with a complaint of sexual harassment and recognizes the Complainant’s interest in keeping the matter confidential. To protect the interests of the Complainant, the Respondent and others who may report incidents ofsexual harassment, confidentiality will be maintained throughout any investigatory process to the extent practicable and appropriate under the circumstances.
- Access to Reports and Documents: All records of complaints, including contents of meetings, results of investigations and other relevant material will be kept confidential by the Company except where disclosure is required under disciplinary or other remedial processes.
- Protection to Complainant: The Company is committed to ensuring that no employee who brings forward a harassment concern is subject to any form of reprisal. Any reprisal will be subject to disciplinary action. The Company will ensure that the Complainant or witnesses are not victimized or discriminated against while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment.
5.Sexual Harassment Internal Complaints Commitee(ICC)
The Sexual Harassment Internal Complaints Committee of B-ABLE is constituted for the purpose of resolving all grievances of Sexual harassment at the workplace and will comprise of Internal Complaints Commitee members.
The Internal Complaints Committee may nominate State level representatives who will support the ICC in prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment in different locations.
Internal Complaints Commitee (ICC) shall consist of the following members:-
|Role||Name, designation||Contact number|
|Chairperson||Ms. Kriti Bhalla, Project Incharge (Female)||+91-8800773334 / 9910678474|
|Member||Ms. Guneet Sethi, Manager – Quality (Female)||+91- 9899492040|
|Member||Mr. Dhermendra Kumar – Manager – Operations & Administration, (Male)||+91-9205799132/ 9968263557|
|Member||Mr. Bhuwan Bisht, Assistant Manager – IT (Male)||+91-9205681482/ 9650615505|
|Member||Ms. Shweta Singh, Company Secretary (Female)||+91-9205799130 / 9873510848|
|Member||Ms. Ritika Saxena, Manager -HR (Female)||+91-9205799066, 9717160136|
|External Member||Sweta Verma – (External Member)||+91 – 9811444527|
The Chairperson and the members of the ICC can be contacted at a confidential email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The presiding officer and every member of the Internal Complaints Commitee (ICC) shall hold office for such period, not exceeding one (1) year.
All members of the ICC shall not retire at the same time to ensure continuity of the Committee.
The Internal Complaints Committee act as a quasi judicial authority and shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the code of civil procedure – summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person an examining her/him on oath, requiring the discovery and production of documents and any other matter which maybe prescribed.
In order to broaden the purview of the ICC and keeping with the spirit of the Act, this Committee will also focus on the development aspect of our women colleagues.
Responsibilities of ICC members include –
B-ABLE, in pursuance of its policy of workplace free of sexual harassment, agrees to take steps to prevent sexual harassment in its workplace and develop a culture and ethos of “Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment”. Towards this objective, B-ABLE will do the following:
- Compliance of the Internal Complaints Commitee (ICC)
- Conducting meetings and maintaining minutes of all ICC meetings
- Constituting the State level representatives of ICC as per need and liaising with complainants, respondents, witnesses, others involved in fact findings
- Ensuring rigorous documentation and maintaining a tracker that will reflect status of all case investigations at one glance
- Committee will assure the confidentiality and protection to the complainant and all employees from any retaliation and/or threats by its management or co-workers for filing a grievance or participating in an investigation.
- Committee will ensure fair investigation of all complaints and that any misconduct, will attract reformative and disciplinary action, including and upto termination of contract.
- ICC will file a comprehensive and standardised documentation report based on the inquiry with the CEO within the timeline as mentioned in the Redressal Process. In case, extra time is needed, express permission must be sought from ICC members.
- Submitting annual reports regarding ICC proceedings to the BASIX Social Enterprise Group CEO, the Company Board and relevant government department/s, in accordance with government regulations.
- Promote awareness on Gender Sensitivity and Sexual Harassment in the workplace
- Communication of this policy to all employee, clients, customers and third party associates
- Display anti-sexual harassment posters on notice boards in common work areas and distribute relevant materials across B-ABLE
- Display of names and contact details of all the members of ICC
- Conduct capacity building and skill building programmes for the members of ICC
- Conduct trainings and workshops for its employees and management on prevention of Sexual Harassment and Gender Sensitivity at workplace
- Conduct specialized trainings for line managers on their role in ensuring that workplace is free from sexual harassment.
- Include Anti Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance in the employee joining-kit, Terms of Reference for all third party associations and contracts
- Establish methods for Prevention and Redressal of Sexual Harassment in the workplace.
- Committee will be alert and proactively sensing any signals of unreported/invisible Sexual Harassment in the workplace.
- Help creating a positive workplace free from any offensive, sexually explicit calendars, literature, posters and other materials and include rules prohibiting inappropriate use of computer technology, such as e-mail, screen savers and the internet in company’s policy
- Regular checks may be undertaken to monitor the incidence of sexual harassment in workplaces and the use and effectiveness of their complaints procedures.
- In case of a BASIX Group company grievance case, the ICC members will ensure dealing with HR of another BASIX Group company in accordance with the mandate of the law of the land.
- The ICC members can seek advice from internal legal department or professional law firms, if need be.
- Redressal Process
ICC will address complaints of Sexual Harassment in the workplace and ensure time bound resolution of such complaints, in accordance with the Act 2013.
B-ABLE is committed to providing a supportive environment in which to resolve concerns of sexual harassment as under:
- When an incident of sexual harassment occurs, the complainant it is strongly urged that s/he communicate her disapproval and objections immediately to the harasser and ask the harasser to behave decently.
- The complainant must also immediately report every incident of perceived harassment to one or all members of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in B-ABLE.
- The complaint must be in writing in six copies, along with supporting documents and the names and addresses of the witnesses, preferably within 90 days of the incident. The employee is required to disclose her/his name, department, division and location s/he is working in, to enable the Chairperson to contact her/him and take the matter forward.
- If the aggrieved woman is unable to make a complaint :
- On account of her physical incapacity, a complaint may be filed by her friend or relative, her co-worker or or any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent of the complainant.
- On account of her mental incapacity, a complain may be filed by her friend or relative, her co-worker, a special educator, a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist, the guardian or authority under whose care she is receiving treatment or care or any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent of the complainant.
- For any other reason, a complian may be filed by any person, who has knowledge of the incident, with her written consent.
- On account of death of the aggrieved woman, a complaint may be filed by any person with her written consent.
- If the Complainant does not wish to depose personally due to embarrassment of narration of event, she / he may meet with one or two persons (preferably a lady officer for lady employees involved and a male officer for male employees, rather than the entire committee).
- On receipt of the Complaint, ICC will respond to the Complainant within 48 hours of the receipt of the complaint and will maintain the records in a confidential file.
- ICC shall provide every reasonable opportunity to the Complainant and to the Respondent, for putting forward and defending their respective case.
- ICC will send one of the copies received from the Complainant to the Respondent within a period of 7 working days and give her / him opportunity to submit a written explanation within a period not exceeding 10 working days from the date of receipt of the complaint statement.
- ICC shall make inquiry into the complaint in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
- ICC will have the right to terminate the inquiry proceedings or give an ex parte decision on the complaint, if the Complainant or Reposndent fails, without sufficient cause, to present herself or himself for three consecutive hearings convened by the Chairperson or Presiding Officer, as the case may be:
- Provided that such termination or ex-parte order may not be passed without giving a notice in writing, 15 days in advance, to the party concerned.
- The Complainant/ Respondent may request the presence of another individual (even from outside the Company) for facilitation / support during the proceedings. However, the parties are not allowed to bring in any legal practitioner to represent them in their case at any stage of the proceedings before the Complaints Committee (ICC).
- If the Complainant or the Respondent desires any witness/es to be called, they shall communicate in writing to ICC the names of witness/es that they propose to call. ICC shall call upon all witnesses mentioned by both the parties.
- If the Complainant or Respondent desires to tender any documents by way of evidence before the Committee, she/he shall supply original copies of such documents. Both shall affix her/his signature on the respective documents to certify these to be original copies. The Chair and/or other committee members shall also countersign these documents.
- In conducting an enquiry, a minimum of 3 members of the ICC including the Chairperson and Third Party Member must be present.
- ICC, at the written request of the Complainant, may recommend to the employer to –
- Actuate abstention / temporary suspension of Respondent from work to facilitate fact finding
- Allow leave upto 90 days or as required to the Complainant during the investigation
- Restrain the Respondent from reporting on the work performance of the complainant or writing her confidential report, and assign the same to another Officer
- Restrain the Respondent in case of an educational institution from supervising any academic activity of the Complainant
- ICC shall conduct such investigations in a timely manner and shall submit a written report to the management containing the findings and recommendations as soon as practically possible and in any case, not later than 90 days from the date of receipt of the Complaint.
- The report of the ICC on the complainant is not to be filed in the HR docket of the employee but to be kept under lock and the key must be retained by ICC Chairperson ensuring restricted access of the files.
- The decision on whether or not it is a case of SHW lies with the ICC. If ICC arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the Respondent has been proved, ICC shall recommend to the management to take any action against the Respondent as given in the Disciplinary Action.
- Decisions of management will be bound to all.
- If ICC arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent is malicious or the Complainant has produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend to the management, to take action accordingly.
- In the event, the complaint does not fall under the purview of sexual harassment or does not mean an offence of sexual harassment, the same would be dropped after recording the reasons thereof.
- The company retains the right and responsibility to file a complaint with relevant legal authorities for further action, wherever required.
- Third Party Complaints
All complaints in which the respondent is a non-employee/third party associate of the Company or member of a community served by the Company will be pursued for redressal on behalf of the employee by the Company.
All complaints received by the Company from/ with a non-employee/third party against an employee of the Company will also be dealt with on the same basis as in-house complaints.
- Preparation of Annual Report
The Internal Complaints Committee shall in every calendar year, prepare an annual report and submit the same to management and the District Officer.
The Annual Report must contain the following details:
- Number of complaints of Sexual Harassment received in a year (from women and men)
- Number of complaints of Sexual Harassment disposed off during a year
- Number of cases pending for more than ninety days with reasons
- Number of workshops or awareness programme against Sexual Harassment carried out
- Nature of action taken by the employer or District Officer
- Disciplinary action
Any employee found guilty of Sexual Harassment or obstruction of redressal of Sexual Harassment will face a minimum compulsory disciplinary action as given below. A reformative process can be suggested in addition to the disciplinary action if the ICC deems fit.
Disciplinary action may not be restricted to the following actions:-
- Withholding of existing increment
- Stoppage of increment for a specified period of time
- Withholding of performance pay for the period of offence
- Stoppage of performance pay for a specified period of time
- No band-movement/ promotion for a specified period of time
- Termination of employment service contract
- Handing over to police or relevant authorities
- Verbal and written apology to Complainant from Respondent if found guilty,
- Verbal and written apology to Company from Respondent if found guilty
- Verbal and written reprimand to Respondent if found guilty by ICC
- Disciplinary action will also be taken against any person who retaliates, threatens or victimizes another person because of their involvement in the grievance process or for unnecessary disclosure of information or for filing a complaint that is intentionally malicious.
In the event of sexual harassment by staff in senior positions in the hierarchy then such acts will be considered to be very serious and will attract higher penalties”.
In case the ICC deems the complaint to lay outside the definition of sexual harassmentbut to be within the “domain of gender discrimination/insensitivity contributing to hostile working environment” it may recommend disciplinary/reformative actions to the management as grievance redressal. Reformative action may include any one or more of the below:
- Suitable change in reporting, team, role, etc.
- Transfer of location
- Transfer from one BASIX entity to another
- Gender sensitivity training
- Counselling for one or all parties
- Psychiatric treatment for one or both parties
The aforementioned disciplinary and reformative actions may be taken singly or in combination.
- Employer Responsibility
B-ABLE has a legal responsibility to prevent Sexual Harassment.
- B-ABLE shall treat Sexual harassment as a misconduct under the service rules and initiate actions for such misconduct.
- B-ABLE shall display at any conspicuous place in the workplace, the penal consequences of the sexual harassments, the constitution details of the Internal Complaints Committee.
- All Managers and Supervisors have a responsibility to:
- monitor the working environment to ensure that acceptable standards of conduct are observed at all times;
- model appropriate behaviour themselves;
- promote the organisation’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy within their work area;
- treat all complaints seriously and take immediate action to investigate and resolve the matter;
- refer complaints to another officer if they do not feel that they are the best person to deal with the case (for example, if there is a conflict of interest or if the complaint is particularly complex or serious).
- B-ABLE shall organize workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitising the employees with the provisions of the Act and orientation programmes for the members of the Internal Complaints Committee.
- B-ABLE is responsible to monitor the timely submission of the reports by the Internal Committee.
- Employee Responsibility
- Employees are encouraged to reinforce the maintenance of a work environment free from sexual harassment and comply with the B-ABLE’s Anti Sexual Harassment policy.
- Employees must read and acquaint themselves with the company policy to deal with unlawful discrimination and harassment at the workplace.
- A copy of this Policy shall be given to all employees and to all new recruits and they shall sign a statement acknowledging that they have received, read, understood and will abide by the Policy.
- Employees must conduct themselves appropriately so as to ensure a work environment that promotes respect and upholds the dignity and self-respect of every individual at the workplace.
- Employees have a personal responsibility to ensure that their behavior is not contrary to this policy.
- Employees must report every incident of perceived harassment that they are aware of and offer support to anyone who is being harassed and let them know where they can get help and advice (they should not, however, approach the harasser themselves);
- Employees must cooperate with the Company in investigations and in preventing and addressing sexual harassment at the workplace.
- Employees must maintain complete confidentiality if they provide information during the investigation of a complaint. Staff should be warned that spreading gossip or rumours may expose them to a defamation action or a claim of victimisation.
- Notwithstanding the Company’s internal procedure, every employee retains the right to file a complaint of unlawful discrimination and harassment or sexual assault under the law of the land.