top of page
  • Writer's pictureNyayasastra

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace: An Overview

Introduction to the Issue

Sexual harassment at the workplace is a pervasive and critical issue that affects women in all sectors and across all levels. In India, it is governed by various legal provisions, ensuring the dignity, safety, and equality of women in professional environments.

Legislative Framework: The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

Key Provisions:

  • Definition of Sexual Harassment: The Act provides an inclusive definition of sexual harassment, encompassing any unwelcome conduct, demand, or request for sexual favors, sexually colored remarks, or showing pornography.

  • Prevention and Prohibition: Employers must create an environment free from sexual harassment by forming an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and creating awareness.

  • Redressal Mechanism: Women can report harassment to the ICC, and a proper inquiry must be conducted following the principles of natural justice.

Important Sections:

  1. Section 4: Constitutes the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at every workplace.

  2. Section 9: Deals with the process for filing complaints.

  3. Section 14: Provides penalties for false or malicious complaints.

Relevant Case Laws:

  1. Vishaka and others v. State of Rajasthan: Landmark judgment that acknowledged the absence of legal provisions and laid down guidelines to address sexual harassment at the workplace. It paved the way for the enactment of the 2013 Act.

  2. Medha Kotwal Lele & Ors v. Union of India: Stressed the implementation of the Vishaka Guidelines in every workplace, irrespective of its size or nature.

  3. Aptech Ltd. v. Monika Hingorani: Emphasized the employer's responsibility to maintain an environment free from harassment.

Role of the Judiciary

The Indian Judiciary has played an instrumental role in interpreting and enforcing the legal provisions related to sexual harassment, ensuring justice and upholding the dignity of women.

Role of Employers

Employers have legal obligations to ensure a harassment-free workplace:

  • Forming Internal Complaints Committees

  • Sensitizing employees about the Act

  • Conducting regular workshops and training

Challenges and Way Forward

Despite robust legal provisions, challenges persist in the enforcement and awareness of the laws. Some of the challenges include:

  • Underreporting of cases

  • Lack of awareness among women about their rights

  • Reluctance from employers in implementing the provisions

Conclusion: Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace

Sexual harassment of women at the workplace is not merely a legal issue but a social one that requires collective responsibility. India's legal framework offers a robust mechanism to address, prevent, and redress sexual harassment at the workplace. The continuous efforts of the judiciary, government, employers, and society are vital for building a respectful and safe environment for all women in the professional sphere. The enforcement of these laws must be consistent and proactive, coupled with widespread awareness and education, to ensure that every woman feels secure and respected in her workplace.

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Nyayasastra Cover_edited.jpg

Try Nyayasastra Today!

Fill your details and be the first to experience India's First AI Powered Law Learning Engine

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page