POLICY ON PREVENTION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORKPLACE
Shiksha Financial Services India Private Limited (“Shiksha” or “Company”) is committed towards creating and maintaining environment wherein its Employees, Agents, Vendors and Partners can work, collaborate and pursue business together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation and intimidation caused by acts of Sexual Harassment within but not limited to the office premises and other locations directly related to the Company’s business.
All parties concerned should take cognizance of the fact that the Company strongly opposes all nature of discrimination and sexual harassment, and that such behaviour against women is prohibited by the law as set down in The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and Rules framed there under (hereinafter “The Act”).
Shiksha’s Policy with regard to Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment encompasses all employees across the Company and its branches. Shiksha encourages every woman employee who believes they are sexually harassed to use the redressal mechanism as provided in this policy. All complaints of sexual harassment will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be victimised for making such a complaint.
III. POLICY AND ITS EFFECT:
Shiksha’s Policy on prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace includes sexual harassment by fellow employees, supervisors, managers as well as agents, contractors, customers, vendors, partners and visitors including employees of outsourced entities. Sexual harassment is judged by the impact on the complainant and not the intent of the Respondent.
This Policy has been in force effectively from 16th August 2018 and shall be amended from time to time to accommodate required changes as approved by the Board of Directors of the Company.
a) “Aggrieved Person” means a person in relation to work place whether employed or not, who alleges to have been subject to any act of sexual harassment by the Respondent.
b) “Internal Complaints Committee” means a committee constituted by Company as per this Policy.
c) “Respondent” means a person against whom the aggrieved person has made a complaint.
d) “Sexual Harassment” includes Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person’s employment, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient.
Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal and non-verbal. Examples of conduct or behaviour which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging,
- fondling, or inappropriate touching
- Physical violence, including sexual assault
- Physical contact, e.g. touching, pinching
- The use of job-related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favours.
- Comments on a worker’s appearance, age, private life, etc.
- Sexual comments, stories and jokes
- Sexual advances
- Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
- Insults based on the sex of the worker
- Condescending or paternalistic remarks
- Sending sexually explicit messages (by phone or by email)
- Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material
- Sexually-suggestive gestures
Following circumstances amongst other circumstances mentioned above may constitute sexual harassment if it occurs or is present in relation or connected with any act or behavior of sexual harassment which includes Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in their employment, threat about their present or future employment status, interfering with their work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment and humiliation treatment likely to affect their health or safety. In addition to the instances mentioned hereinabove, any other acts or behavior, which outrages the modesty of a female employee, will be considered as sexual harassment.
Terms which have not been defined in this policy shall have the same meaning as assigned to them in the Act as amended from time to time.
INTERNAL COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE (ICC) AT THE HEAD OFFICE
To consider and redress complaints of Sexual Harassment, An Internal Complaints Committee (Hereinafter “the Committee”) shall be constituted by the management consisting of the following persons mentioned hereunder.
As Shiksha does not have the required manpower at the branch level in accordance with constitution mentioned in the act (Annex 1), considering it the Company will create necessary Committees at Divisional /State level. Wherever ICCs are not formed at Divisional/State level due to the non-availability of suitable women employees, the ICC created at HO level will be the responsible Committee. The names of the
Members of HO Committee and their contact details are given below:
- Ms. Leela Bhanu- Consultant Credit Policy- Presiding Officer
- Mr. Suresh Sakthivel- HR Head- Member
- Ms. Saranya – Senior Executive – Member
- Ms. Sornamukhi Nitharsana J- Member
- Member from NGO – Independent Member
Complaints of sexual harassment shall be received, reviewed and investigated by a Complaints Committee. The Complaints Committee that comprises a woman Coordinator and at least 2 more members (min 50% being women) as constituted by the CEO which will be notified from time to time.
It is at the discretion of the CEO to make changes in the composition of the complaints committee from time to time, based on availability of members.
This Committee shall be empowered to receive complaints, conduct enquiries and recommend appropriate actions for redressal and punishment. In case, a complaint is received against a member of the Complaints Committee itself, the concerned individual shall be required to step down, and shall be replaced by another person from the same category by the CEO.
Any casual vacancy shall he filled by fresh nomination in accordance with the provisions of section 4(5) of The Act.
How to make a complaint
- Any aggrieved woman may make a complaint of sexual harassment in writing to ICC within a period of three months from the date of incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of three months from the date of last incident. If the aggrieved women is not in position to write the complaint, the Presiding Officer, or any Member of the Internal Committee, shall provide all reasonable assistance to the woman for making the complaint in writing. The Committee may, for the reasons to be recorded in writing, extend the time limit not exceeding three months, if it is satisfied that the circumstances were such which prevented the woman from filing a complaint within the said period.
- Where the aggrieved woman is unable to make a complaint on account of her physical or mental incapacity or death or otherwise, her legal heir or such other person as may be prescribed may make a complaint under this section.
VII. COMPLAINT REDRESSAL MECHANISM:
Any aggrieved person may make a complaint, in writing or to the mail ID firstname.lastname@example.org of sexual harassment at workplace to the committee giving details of the sexual harassment meted out to her within a period of 3 months from the date of incident.
- On receipt of complaint, the Committee will decide the place and time for hearing the complaint and intimates the date, time and place of hearing to the Complainant and Respondent. The Committee follows principle of Natural Justice while handling such complaints.
- Inquiry into complaint: the Internal Committee shall, where the respondent is an employee, proceed to make inquiry into the complaint in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to the respondent.
- The Respondent shall file reply within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint along with list of documents, names and addresses of witnesses.
- The Committee shall have the right to terminate the enquiry or give ex-parte decision on the complaint, if the Respondent or complainant remains absent for 3 consecutive hearings, without sufficient cause.
- The Committee may before initiating an inquiry, and at the aggrieved person’s request, attempt to settle the matter through conciliation.
- The Committee may during such investigation exercise the power of a civil court.
- The inquiry by Internal committee shall be completed within a period of ninety days.
- The Committee shall on completion of the enquiry provide a report of its findings within 10 days from the date of completion of the enquiry and such report shall be made available to the concerned parties.
- If the allegation against the respondent has not been proved, the Committee may recommend that no action needs to be taken in the matter.
- If the Committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has been proved, it shall recommend to the CEO of the Company to take action for sexual harassment as misconduct.
- Such action will be taken within 60 days of the receipt of report.
- All the Employees, Agents, Customers, Vendors, Partners and Visitors shall have access to this Policy at all times and clarification(s) related to this Policy shall be addressed by the Human Resource Manager.
- A brief shall be given to all existing employees regarding the features of this Policy immediately on formulation of the Policy and to new employees in Shiksha during their initial Induction.
- The Company shall comply with all other details as set out under Section 19 of the Act to ensure that all employees are provided with the safe working environment at the workplace.
- The Company shall display the notice showing the name of The Committee members at its every establishment at a conspicuous place.
- Assistance would be provided to the woman if she so chooses to file a complaint in relation to the offence under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force;
- Sexual harassment will be treated as misconduct under the service rules and appropriate action will be initiated for such misconduct.
- Awareness to the employees on the constitution of ICC at HO and how to raise a harassment complaint to Internal committees and its role in dealing with complaints of sexual harassment.
X. FALSE ACCUSATIONS:
An employee who knowingly makes an allegation of sexual harassment to the committee shall be subject to disciplinary action, including termination of employment, in accordance with company rules, policies and procedures. Further, this policy may not be used as a defense by an employee against whom an adverse action has been taken by the company independent of any disclosure of information and for legitimate reasons or cause under company rules and policies.
- The Company may make any alteration or amendment or rescind any of the clauses of this Policy as and when it finds it necessary to do so as long as it complies with the Act. Any such alterations or amendment or rescinding will be intimated to the employee(s).
- Nothing contained in these rules shall operate in derogation of any law for the time being in force or to the prejudice of any right of any employee under any other Rules or Law.
- The Committee shall prepare an annual report shall submit the same to the Company to include in its Annual report detailing number of complaints of sexual harassment received during the year, disposed off and pending cases.
- This policy outlines the spirit behind the company’s approach in bringing absolute transparency in communication as regards its policies. Therefore, personnel covered by this policy are expected to respect the rules and standard procedures governing this policy. Where circumstances are abnormal or situations not anticipated or defined in this policy arise, such matters should be referred to the HR Department for resolution in a matter that is consistent with the whole aim and spirit of this policy.
- Deviation to this policy in any form will not be entertained and will be viewed seriously.
- This policy superseded all other policies, procedures and practices prevalent on this subject till date. The company reserves the right to add to, alter to, amend or cancel this policy at its discretion.
The Complaints relating to Sexual Harassment shall be handled and investigations will be conducted under the principles of natural justice, basis of fundamental fairness, in an impartial and confidential manner so as to protect the identity of all viz., the person bringing the charge, potential witnesses, and the person accused of improper behavior. Also, all efforts shall be taken to ensure objectivity and thoroughness throughout the process of Investigation. The identity and address of the aggrieved person, respondent and witnesses must not be published or disclosed to the public or media.
The decision of Company shall be final and binding on all. However, the same is without prejudice to any recourse that Company or the individual concerned may have against the respondent and it shall not limit or restrict the rights of the Complainant and/or Company to pursue, nor shall they be precluded from pursuing, such further and other legal actions as may be available.