An appeal was filed by X (victim) under Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013 challenging the order passed by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) constituted by Standard Chartered Bank.
This was about enquiring into a case of Sexual Harassment against her by an employee of Standard Chartered Bank under whom she had worked.
The Industrial Tribunal of Delhi criticized the Standard Chartered Bank for procedural lapses in handling a sexual harassment complaint in compliance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act).
The bench of Judge Ajay Goel, J., held that the findings of ICC suffered from illegality and infirmity.
A cost of Rs. 1,50,000 and an unconditional apology was tendered by the accused (male respondent) to the victim. Additionally, the Tribunal directed the Standard Chartered Bank to pay Rs. 50,000/- to the appellant.
Explaining the judgment to SightsIn Plus, Advocate Jayant Bakshi said, “As you would have noticed, several PoSH-related cases are now being litigated at the High Court and Tribunal level. Consistently, the Hon’ble judges have maintained that it is the duty of the employer to create a safe and comfortable work environment.”
“In this matter also, the Tribunal observed that, “Under the Act, it is the employer who is responsible for implementing policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment, providing training to employees and managers and establishing an internal complaints committee to investigate and address complaints of sexual harassment. The employers are also required to display information about the Act and the complaint procedure in a prominent location in the workplace”, he added.
“The Tribunal also observed that the members of the IC, lacking legal knowledge, may unknowingly and inadvertently, give rise to unwanted repercussions during an inquiry”, he further added.
“The Tribunal also made a comment that its attention was drawn towards “internet generated report” wherein it is reported that there are several other instances and complaints of sexual harassment by other female employees against other male employees working in Standard Chartered Bank; and in said complaints also, the pleas and complaints made to head concerned, including the HR and CEO went unanswered and their complaints were fallen to deaf ears. It is interesting to note that the Tribunal has specifically commented on this matter”, He said.
“The Hon’ble judge also mentioned that in one of the earlier cases before this court, the court came across the findings in which humorous suggestions have been given by the members (of the IC) after finding the charged official guilty – pointing towards the fact that legal knowledge of the IC members (or at least the External Member) is essential to ensure that the report/ suggestions of the IC is not vitiated at a later stage”, the post concluded.
The order was shared by Law Live and can be read with a click here.