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What Are The Key Principles to Understand Workplace Sexual Harassment

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

1. Extended workplaces:

Your workplace is not just a physical office; it includes digital as well as all spaces where you and your colleagues interact.

Any place visited by you arising out of or during the course of your employment, including external conferences, Zoom calls, WhatsApp chats, cab rides, formal or informal dinners, etc are covered.

2. Gender discrimination vs sexual harassment:

Gender discrimination or sexism is linked to prejudice and stereotypes around sex, gender and gender roles. It may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another.

Examples include pay disparity, questioning a woman's commitment or competence based on her marital status or child bearing, etc.

Sexual harassment is usually a subset of gender discrimination.

Remember: All gender discrimination does not amount to sexual harassment.

3. Understanding consent:

For any sexual behaviour to be consensual, it requires explicit consent from all involved parties that is:

  • Enthusiastic

  • Informed

  • Freely given

  • Ongoing, and

  • Can be withdrawn at any time.

4. Impact>Intent:

The law clearly states that what matters is the impact (on the complainant) and not the intent (of the respondent/perpetrator).

5. Natural Justice:

POSH law encourages a fair and unbiased hearing based on these principles:

(a) Audi alteram partem

Both parties have the right to present their

story, with evidences, witnesses, etc.

(b) Nemo judex in causa sua

No Internal Committee member can judge a case

in which they have any involvement.

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