Scenario Based Q & A ’s
Q 1. Ms Shradhha works in a MNC and reports to Mr. Shankar. He uses abusive names (hindi non-sexual slangs) while reprimanding her and the other subordinates frequently. Ms Shradhha was offended by such abusive language and filed a complaint for sexual harassment. Is her complaint valid?
No, her complaint is not valid under this Act as the abuse by Mr. Shankar was of a non-sexual manner. Only conduct which has sexual overtones can be brought under the purview of the Sexual Harassment Act.
Q 2. Mrs. Payal works in a firm, where a senior partner of the firm usually makes remarks at her appearance and clothes. He imposes upon her to wear certain attire that makes her more attractive. Aggrieved by the actions of the senior partner, Mrs. Payal files a complaint for sexual harassment. Is her complaint valid under the sexual harassment act?
Yes, any kind of sexual remarks, whether direct or indirect constitute sexual harassment under the Sexual Harassment Act.
Q 3. Mr. Zohar often watches pornographic videos in the office. He makes deliberate effort to make it visible to the female colleagues who are uncomfortable by this act. One of the female colleagues filed a complaint for sexual harassment. Is the claim sustainable under Sexual Harassment Act?
Yes, showing pornography to the female colleague constitutes Sexual harassment under the Act and a valid claim may be made.
Q 4. Miss Sushma works as an intern in a firm which has 35 employees. She was sexually harassed by a senior on the last day of her internship. Considering she is an intern and is also done with her internship period, can Sushma file a complaint under the Sexual Harassment Act?
Yes. Interns, apprentices, and trainees are protected under the Sexual Harassment Act. In determining a case of sexual harassment, it is irrelevant whether there is any relationship of employment with the complainant. In this case, even though it was her last day in the firm, she can file a complaint with the ICC (even after her internship is over - within the time limit of 90 days), as the harassment occurred when she was still working with the firm.
Q 5. Miss Aneri works under a service provider and is currently an onsite staff at the premises of a client. She was sexually harassed by an employee of the MNC during the office party at the client’s place – can she file a complaint under sexual harassment act with the MNC?
Yes. In this situation, the services provider is essentially a contractor, and the woman is employed on the client's premises through the services provider. Women employed through agents or contractors are protected under the ambit of Sexual Harassment Act. As the harassment occurred during an official party, which she has visited in the course of her employment, such place will be covered under the Act.
Q 6. Miss Zahra, a social activist, works in a NGO on voluntary basis without any remuneration. She was sexually harassed by a colleague. Can she file a complaint with the appropriate committee under the Sexual Harassment Act?
Yes, women working as volunteers or without remuneration are protected under the Sexual Harassment Act.
Q 7. Mrs. Tanaya practices in a sports training institute. She is sexually harassed by her trainer. Can she file a complaint under Sexual Harassment Act?
Yes, she can file a complaint with the the training institute's ICC. As per the Sexual Harassment Act - sporting institutes, stadium, sport complex or game venues are covered under the definition of 'workplace'.
Q 8. Akansha is an intern in a law firm. She is sexually harassed by a senior associate in the company’s car that drops them home every night. Can she file a complaint under Sexual Harassment Act?
Yes, as firms which have any employer provided transportation services are covered under the definition of 'workplace' under the Sexual Harassment Act. Akansha can file the complaint with the firm's ICC.
Q 9. Smriti works in a massage parlour, where she is sexually harassed by a client. Can she file a complaint under Sexual Harassment Act?
Private service providers (salons, hospitals, etc.) providing commercial services are covered under the definition of 'workplace' under the Sexual Harassment Act. However, as she was harassed by an external person i.e a client and not another employee/ employer at the salon; the ICC will be ineffective in providing her effective reliefs - however, her employer has the duty to assist her in filing a FIR with the police, in case she approaches him or the ICC.
Q 10. Anviksha is a management consultant, who often works with several startup companies. Her typical meetings with her clients (startup companies) are often scheduled at the personal homes of one of the founders. Does Anviksha have any rights to complain in case she faces sexual harassment in such situations?
Yes, as the premises where the harassment occurred was used for the work of the employer, the premises would constitute a 'workplace', under the Sexual Harassment Act. As the complaint is against the employer himself, she can file a complaint with the LCC of the concerned area.