Sexual harassment at the workplace
“There remains what seems like an impenetrable wall of silence around violence and we must all play a role in breaking this silence.
– Reese Witherspoon”
Gender discrimination is prevalent in our society since time immemorial. Sexual harassment at the workplace is a form of gender discrimination that acts as a hindrance to the dream of attaining a safe and healthy working environment for female employees. Sexual harassment at the workplace means the conduct portrayed by the creation of unwanted and improper sexual comments or actual advances in a working environment or other expert or social circumstance. It leads to the violation of the fundamental rights of employees such as the right to life which is provided in Article 21 of the Indian constitution. The constitution guarantees all its citizens the right to live with dignity.
It is observed in various judgments that the right to life doesn’t mean mere animal existence. Hence such practices are hazardous and are against basic human rights. Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian constitution provides the freedom to practice any profession. In such a case, harassment keeps the victim away from employment leading to the inability to access the freedom of practicing any profession. The right to equality is provided by our constitution in such a case despite that harassment acts as a kind of gender discrimination leading to a lack of equal opportunities for all genders.
The victim has no gender in specific. But females are more likely to face harassment at the workplace as compared to others. In 1997, the first case was filed before the supreme court of India seeking the enforcement of the rights of working women. In the year 1997, a lady who was an employee of the state government working towards preventing child marriage was brutally gang-raped in the year 1997. Before that, no legislation specifically dealt with the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace in India. In 2013 Prevention of sexual harassment at workplace act 2013 was formed. It took us 16 years to make the act.
No wonder how long will it take to implement it completely. Not just implementation, it is really necessary for us to spread awareness regarding the same. Oftentimes people don’t even know what amounts to sexual harassment. It was in 2013 in the Vishakha judgment in which the supreme court framed certain guidelines also known as Vishakha guidelines and ordered the union to come with a proper action to deal with the same. The POSH Act defines sexual harassment as unwelcome acts or behavior whether directly or by implication which includes physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favors, making of sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, or any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. This allows the preparator to roam free and the victim to suffer in silence. The employer must spread awareness and provide the employees with a safe place to work and hence providing equal opportunities.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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