Singhania & Partners LLP with the support of Embassy of Belgium, New Delhi in partnership with Belgium Luxembourg Business Association (BLBA) organized the programme on creating awareness on Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace on 14 Mar, 2016 at The Claridges, New Delhi.
H.E. Mr. Jan Luykx, Belgian Ambassador to India and Hon’ble Prof. Herman De Croo, Belgian Minister of State, Member of the Belgian House of Representatives presided over the programme and shared European perspectives on the legislation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 . They were of the view that this law for the protection of women against sexual harassment at the workplace is a landmark legislation in India’s legal arsenal for redressal of complaints of sexual harassment by women employees.
Ms. Shailaja Chandra, Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Delhi highlighted the fact that more and more women are finding the courage to report such cases for action to their managements. However, she discussed difficulties faced by aggrieved women employees and vehemently appealed to the Internal Complaints Committees (ICC) of the organizations to enforce the mandate of the law with greater rigour.
Mr. Ravi Singhania, Managing Partner, Singhania & Partners LLP stressed that the organizations need to start accepting that the problem exists instead of brushing it under the carpet. He highlighted that the onus to make women feel secure lies with the management. He urged employers to conduct gender sensitization programmes for men and women employees as the inability or failure to support the complainants can have serious consequences for them.
Mr. Sunil Kumar, Partner, Singhania & Partners LLP discussed the need for training of the members of ICC in conducting inquiry proceedings in to complaints of sexual harassment. He highlighted the fact that most of the ICC members do not have understanding of the technical nuances of procedure which becomes an impediment in delivering justice to the victims as poorly conducted inquiries are set aside by the court. He focused that there was no place for machismo on the part of male co-workers and it is the time for women to stop being meek at the workplace. They must say no to sexual harassment.
Mr. Rajiv Dhawan, President, BLBA commended the efforts of Singhania & Partners in organizing the interactive session on this topic and announced that he will advocate to the members of BLBA to start complying with the Act.
The programme was attended by HR Leaders, in-house counsels, chairpersons/ members of ICCs and heads of the organizations from diverse industry sectors including hospitality, infrastructure, engineering, information technology and e-commerce.