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Now ‘humiliating treatment’ of women will amount to sexual harassment

NEW DELHI: Humiliating treatment of women that is likely to affect their health and promise of preferential or detrimental treatment can now amount to sexual harassment under amended service rules for government employees.

This information was given by Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

The service rules were amended by the Ministry on November 19 to widen definition of sexual harassment and to make work place more conducive for women to work.

“The implied or explicit promise of preferential or detrimental treatment in employment, threat about present or future employment and humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety may amount to sexual harassment,” Singh said.

Besides, interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for women employees may amount to sexual harassment, he said.

The new rules are expected to bring in more clarity on various sexual harassment offences punishable under the law.

As per the new definition under the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, sexual harassment includes physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography and any other unwelcome physical, verbal, non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature, the House was told.

As per rules, work place includes any department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit which is established, owned, controlled or wholly or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly by the central government.

President Pranab Mukherjee had last year given his assent to the Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill, 2010, aimed at providing protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment.

The new law has under its ambit even domestic workers and agriculture labour, both from organised and unorganised sectors.