Workplace Sexual Harassment Laws in India

In Corporate Law
I have a friendly and talkative personality in general, therefore, I had a friendly equation with my boss also, but suddenly he started calling me a lot in his personal office and started physically touching me in a very uncomfortable way. It made me feel very uneasy and scared to work around him. What should I do about this behavior? Are there any legal remedies available for me?

Answers (3)

96 votes

What is workplace harassment?

Workplace harassment is demeaning, degrading or threatening behaviour directed at an individual worker or group of workers.

Some of the harassing behaviour could be verbal abuse/displaying violent images/angry outbursts/invading others' personal space/destruction of property, discrimination, etc.


Applicable laws in India for "harassment at workplace" are as follows:

• Physical harassment at workplace (which may include threats or physical assaults) – Physical harassment and threats of bodily harm are criminal offenses and punishable under the Indian Penal Code, so an FIR can be filed with the police.

• For Sexual Harassment at Workplace – Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Remedy) Act 2013 plays an important role. Moreover, it is an offense under the Indian Penal Code and there are various sections that would deal with the offense committed.

• Disability – Harassment with a person/persons with disability, discrimination- 

  Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995

• Pregnancy – Harassment (physical or mental) with pregnant women- Maternity Benefits Act, 1961

• Religion/Race/Caste – Any discrimination based on caste, race, religion etc. or any such harassment- Constitution of India, 1950

• Inequality/Unequal Pay – For harassment by the way of unequal, in- adequate, delay in wages or salary- Wages Act, 2019 / Equal Pay Act, 1976

• For harassment caused by unreasonable deduction of wages - Wages Act, 2019 / Payment of Wages Act, 1936.

• For harassment caused by unreasonable working conditions - Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

• In addition to the above, The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 requires an employer to define and publish uniform conditions of employment in the form of standing orders. This Standing Orders Act prescribes model standing orders to be followed where the employer has not drawn up and certified its own standing orders. These orders set out the procedure for investigating and dealing with "misconduct" or any other complaint an employer receives from an employee.


Remedies Available to Victim

1. Complain to the ICC or the police

Each workplace has an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to deal with sexual harassment complaints. If you want to complain to the ICC, you must do so within three months of the last act of sexual harassment you faced.

You must submit copies of your complaint, supporting documents, and the names and addresses of your witnesses.

You can also file an FIR at the local police station or file a private complaint with the magistrate, which will result in a stricter punishment for your harasser.


2. Compensation 

If your complaint against your harasser is proven, you are entitled to compensation from them. The amount of compensation is decided based on several factors such as the emotional distress you have experienced, loss of job opportunities due to harassment, your financial situation, etc.

3. Changes in the work environment/protection in the work environment

After your sexual harassment complaint has been filed, you can send the ICC a written request to: Stop the harasser from reporting on your work performance; Restrict the harasser from monitoring you if you are in an educational institution; Request transfer of yourself or the harasser to work in a safe space; Request for 3 months of paid vacation, in addition to the vacation you already have.

4. Privacy during proceedings 

The Act provides a framework where your privacy is protected during and after ICC proceedings by penalizing those who disclose the content of your complaint, your identity or address, information about any inquiry by the ICC, any action taken by the employer and any advice or details provided ICC.

5. Appeals

You have the right to appeal within 90 days to the authority listed in your workplace regulations or to the Local Complaints Committee (LCC). If you do not have an LCC in your district, you can go to court with the help of a lawyer.

115 votes

You can give a complaint to your HR under the Sexual Harassment at Work Place Act, against your boss. If no action is taken then you can also file an FIR under section 509 IPC, at your local police station.

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135 votes

Yes you may hire an advocate to understand the legalities for the same and collect evidences on the regard …! Thenceforth your advocate will draft a complaint which u need to submit at the concerned police station !
Or else you may leave the job & keep distance in new office
Thanks n b in touch

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