Sexual Harassment at Workplace India: Addressing Issues

Posted On : February 1, 2024
Sexual Harassment at Workplace India: Addressing Issues
Listen to this article

Table of Contents


Sexual harassment at the workplace is a pervasive issue that affects employees globally, and India is no exception. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of fostering safe and inclusive work environments. However, despite increased attention, sexual harassment remains a significant concern in many Indian workplaces, hindering the professional growth and well-being of countless individuals.

What do you mean by Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. It can manifest in various forms, including verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct, and is not limited to one gender or position within an organization.

Legal Framework in India

India has enacted laws to address sexual harassment at the workplace, with the landmark legislation being the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013. This law mandates the establishment of internal complaints committees (ICCs) in organizations with ten or more employees. These committees are responsible for receiving and redressing complaints of sexual harassment.

Despite the legal framework, there are challenges in its implementation. Many organizations still lack ICCs, and awareness of the law's provisions among employees is often limited. Moreover, the focus has traditionally been on women as victims, potentially neglecting cases involving men or individuals belonging to the LGBTQ+ community.

Cultural Factors

Addressing sexual harassment at the workplace in India requires acknowledging and challenging deep-seated cultural factors that contribute to the problem. Hierarchical structures, power imbalances, and the stigma surrounding reporting harassment can prevent victims from speaking out. Additionally, societal norms and stereotypes often perpetuate a culture of victim-blaming, discouraging survivors from seeking justice.

Changing the Culture

To combat sexual harassment effectively, a cultural shift within organizations and society at large is imperative. Employers should prioritize creating a safe and supportive environment, where reporting harassment is encouraged, and victims are assured of confidentiality and protection from retaliation.

Key Measures to Combat Sexual Harassment

Awareness and Training: Organizations must conduct regular awareness programs and training sessions to educate employees about what constitutes sexual harassment, how to prevent it, and the avenues available for reporting.

Establishment of ICCs: Employers must ensure the proper formation and functioning of ICCs as mandated by the law. These committees should be well-trained and sensitive to handle complaints impartially and efficiently.

Zero-Tolerance Policies: Companies should adopt and publicize a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment. Clear consequences for perpetrators, including disciplinary actions and, if necessary, termination, should be outlined.

Support Mechanisms: Implementing support mechanisms such as counseling services and employee assistance programs can assist survivors in coping with the aftermath of harassment and encourage them to come forward.

Inclusive Approach: Acknowledge that sexual harassment can affect anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Policies and interventions should be inclusive and address the diverse needs of the workforce.


Tackling sexual harassment at the workplace in India requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond legal compliance. It involves challenging cultural norms, fostering awareness, and creating an environment where individuals feel safe to report incidents without fear of reprisal. As India continues to evolve economically and socially, addressing and eradicating sexual harassment should be a shared responsibility of employers, employees, and society as a whole. Only through collective efforts can workplaces become truly safe, inclusive, and conducive to professional growth for all. For more information related sexual harassment at workplace, it is advisable to consult labour lawyers for employees.


What is harassment at the workplace in India?

Workplace harassment in India refers to any unwelcome behavior, including verbal, physical, or non-verbal actions, that create a hostile or intimidating work environment. This can encompass various forms, such as discrimination, bullying, or unwanted advances of a sexual nature. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013, provides a legal framework to address sexual harassment, but workplace harassment can extend beyond gender-based issues to include any behavior that negatively impacts an individual's well-being at work.

Written By:


Kolkata | Delhi | Mumbai | Bangalore | Chennai | Pune | Vadodara | Nagpur | Goa | Anand

Recommended Free Legal Advices
question markIs "Live-in relationship" word is "sexual in nature". 1 Response(s)
Yes, being a married Person if you ask another female for live in, then it can tantamount as sexual harassment at Work Place. The female can file the complaint before the HR Department. The ICC will decide based upon the merits of the case. You need to prove your innocence by showing the past conduct and what did you meant to say by that message. But it would not be an easy task to save yourself. You need to stratagize your defence and get some witnesses who knew about past live in relationship and your conduct with the lady. That might give you some chance to counter the allegations.
question markSexual harassment 1 Response(s)
Dear Client, From the contents of the query, it appears that you left the job after signing the final report of the internal Inquiry Committee of the company. You tender your resignation citing the case of harassment that happened to you and the person against whom you brought the complaint of sexual harassment had left the company and after the lapse of 6 months, you want to reopen the complaint of sexual harassment again through a police complaint. So in this scenario, your complaint to the police may not be accepted at this belated stage especially when your earlier complaint to HRD is closed without your knowledge about the outcome of the inquiry and you left the job without pursuing the matter. In case the Police refuse to accept your complaint, you have to file a complaint before the Magistrate u/s.156(3) Cr PC for an order for registration of an FIR by the police. Under S.156(3), the magistrate has the power to direct the police to investigate in cognizable offences. Police has to register an FIR and investigate. Police have to file a final report (positive or negative) In case of positive, the court will take cognizance, issue summons and conduct trial. In 156(3) the order comes in 2 days as the court has to simply decide whether to order the registration of FIR or proceed to take the cognizance and proceed under 200 CrPC. If the court decides to proceed under 200 CrPC then the final disposal of the case will take a year or even more depending on the backlog of cases in the court. So, if you like to file a complaint at the belated stage, you need ot consult an Advocate for guidance and steps.
question markSexual harassment at workplace 2 Response(s)
There are a few details regarding company policies surrounding this that need to be considered. One of this includes when they gave you the option of a department change or a 3 month leave, did the leave mean you were allowed to return working after 3 months? There are also the need for some clarity on this part.
question markFalse Sexual Harassment Case 3 Response(s)
As per your description I assume that you have enough evidence to showcase that its a false case. So, fight this case in the court wherever it is going on. Additionally you can move the High Court for quashing of the case under Section 492 of Cr.P.C.
question markSexual harrasment 4 Response(s)
Dear Client As long as the case is not proved against you and you are convicted for the crime no one can take any penalizing action against you and if they break/demolish your house then you can certainly move the high court against them