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Mam Hina Gill
Ali Hassan


Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923

Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in 2010

'Women Harassment Act 2012 a welcome step of Punjab government'
Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment)
Bill, 2014.
Workplace violence means:
The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or
could cause physical injury to the worker
An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause
physical injury to the worker
A statement or behavior that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise
physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.
Workplace harassment means:

Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is

known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
Workplace harassment may include bullying, intimidating or offensive jokes or innuendos,
displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials, or offensive or intimidating phone calls.
The first thing that you need to figure out is whether you have a case at all. What you think is a
violation of your rights may not necessarily be recognized as such by law. So, if your boss yells
at you or hurts you emotionally, it may not qualify as mental harassment. However, if as a result
of constant insults, you suffer from some psychiatric problem, you could have a case against
Employers must proactively assess the risks of workplace violence that may arise from the nature
of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work. Measures and procedures to control
these risks must be included in the workplace violence program. Employers must advise the Joint
Health and Safety Committee or health and safety representative, if any, or workers, of the
results of the assessment, and provide a written copy, if available.
Policy Employers must prepare a policy with respect to workplace violence, and develop and
maintain a program to implement the policy. Employers must provide information and
instruction to workers on the contents of these policies and programs.
Workplace harassment
The OHSA does not require an employer to assess the risk of workplace harassment.
Policy and program:
Employers must prepare a policy with respect to workplace harassment, and develop and
maintain a program to implement the policy. Employers must provide information and
instruction to workers on the contents of the policy and program.

The workplace harassment program must include measures and procedures for workers to report
incidents of workplace harassment and set out how the employer will investigate and deal with
incidents or complaints.
These requirements help employers, supervisors and workers to recognize and deal with
workplace harassment promptly, before it escalates into possible workplace violence.
Health and safety inspectors cannot investigate, resolve or mediate individual cases of workplace
harassment or order an employer to deal with an individual case of workplace harassment.
Employers, supervisors and unions also have responsibilities to prevent and address harassment
prohibited under Ontario's Human Rights Code.
A worker may seek to resolve a workplace harassment incident or complaint outside of the
employer's internal investigation process, particularly where he or she believes the matter was
not properly dealt with. For example, a worker may seek resolution through the grievance
arbitration process (if they are represented by a union) or through civil litigation, depending on
the circumstances. If the matter involves harassment on prohibited grounds, he or she may wish
to contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for help, or the Human Rights Tribunal
directly to file an application to have the matter heard.

Calling the Ministry of Labors:

The Ministry of Labor enforces Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Ministry
encourages internal workplace resolution of complaints. Where possible, workplace health and
safety complaints should first be brought to the attention of the supervisor or employer, to the
Joint Health and Safety Committee, if there is one, or to the health and safety representative if
If an employer is not complying with the workplace violence and workplace harassment
requirements in the OHSA, workers should call the ministry's province-wide Occupational
Health and Safety Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-202-0008 to file a complaint. Individuals
who wish to remain anonymous may do so. The ministry can visit the workplace to assess

whether the employer has a workplace harassment and violence policy and program in place. For
related information, please visit the Ministry of Labor's webpage
Code of Conduct for the Employees:
During the discharge of official duties in the office, all functionaries should behave in proper
manner according to the official decorum.
The language should be civilized and simple. Words and sentences having more than one
meaning should be strictly avoided.
Unnecessary stay and unnecessary visits to womens workplace and near women washrooms are
strictly prohibited.
Staring is also a menace in our society and should be avoided.
Duties after office hours and duties on holidays for women must be approved from the
concerned Head of Wing.
Any other action which tantamount to harassment of lady officials/officers of this ministry will
be considered a serious offence and disciplinary action will be taken under the Government
Servants (efficiency and Disciplinary) rules, 1973 against the offenders.
March 9 President Asif Ali Zardari signed on Tuesday the Protection Against Harassment
of Women at Workplace Bill, 2010, aimed at providing a safe working environment.
The president signed the bill at a ceremony attended by some 100 women activists,
parliamentarians and members of civil society organizations in the presidency.
He reiterated the government's commitment to ensuring equal rights for men and women in
accordance with the Constitution.
We have to create a Pakistan where the coming generations, my daughters, can be proud of the
fact that they live as equals. We will make sure that those who wish to harm the ideology of the
Quaid-i-Azam, which was for equality for men and women, shall not succeed,

The bill aimed at creating a working environment for women free from harassment, abuse and
intimidation, he added. He thanked all those who supported the bill in both houses.
Aqsa Khan of Aasha said This is a true partnership of citizens and the government. We want the
government to ensure its implementation.
She said Pakistan now stands as a leading country in South Asia for having a specific legislation
against sexual harassment at workplace.
Overcoming years of conservative opposition, the National Assembly passed the bill to punish
harassment of women at workplaces, though last-minute amendments extended the protection to
men as an apparent compromise.
Punishment for the guilty, or violators of a code of conduct, will range from a censure to
dismissal to an unspecified fine under the law.
The law defines harassment as any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours or
other verbal and written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature or sexually
demeaning attitudes, causing interference with the work performance or creating an intimidating,
hostile or offensive work environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for refusal to
comply to such a request or is made condition for employment.
All organizations, including federal and provincial government ministries, departments,
corporations, educational institutions, private commercial organizations and registered civil
society associations, will be required to constitute inquiry committees of at least three members
each - one of them a woman - to probe complaints and give their findings within 30 days to the
competent authority concerned that will award recommended penalties.
Minor penalties will be censure, withholding for specified periods of promotion or increment and
stoppage at an efficiency bar in the time-scale, other than fitness to cross such bar, and recovery
of compensation payable to a complainant from pay or any other source of the accused.
Major penalties are demotion to a lower post or time-scale or to a lower stage in a time-scale,
compulsory retirement, removal from service, dismissal from service, and fine, a part of which

can be used as compensation for the complainant. In case of owner (found guilty), the fine shall
be payable to the complainant.
An inquiry committee may recommend to an ombudsperson for appropriate action against a
complainant whose allegations are found to be false and made with mala fide intentions while a
party aggrieved by the decision of the competent authority may prefer appeal to the
ombudsperson to be appointed by the federal or a provincial government.
Appeals against the decisions of an ombudsperson at the federal level can be made to the
president and at provincial level to the governor concerned.
The statement of objects and reasons, accompanying the law, is to create a safe working
environment for workers which is free of sexual harassment, abuse and intimidation with a view
to enabling higher productivity and better quality of life at work.
Sexual harassment is one of the biggest hurdles faced by working men and women, preventing
many from working to get themselves and their families out of poverty,
Labor harassment in company:
One way of figuring out where you stand is to go through the provisions of labor laws. Keep in
mind that not all provisions may apply to your specific status. For instance, the Industrial
Disputes Act was mainly passed for the benefit of the labor class working in factories. "The
definition of 'workman' includes people in managerial class as well and, therefore, certain
provisions apply to all employees,"
Apart from labor laws, some fundamental rights are incorporated in the Constitution. So, if you
face discrimination at workplace on the basis of race, caste or sex, you can file a case of violation
of fundamental rights.
The company also owes you what it promises as per your contract, be it monetary benefits or
otherwise. If the company fails to give you the dues, you can drag it to court.
Another common grouse is wrongful termination or one without adequate notice. However,
make sure you read your contract carefully before shooting the gun.

What can you do?

Start by approaching the human resource department of your company. It will be in a position to
explain where you stand legally and will help resolve the issue. You can also lodge a formal
complaint directly with the department and should give it adequate time to evaluate your
situation and suggest a solution. If you are not satisfied with the response, you can file a court
. In case of a violation of your contract, you can file a case in a: civil court. Cases of mental
harassment can be filed in the civil court as well as a criminal court, if you add the charge of
criminal intimidation. Consult a lawyer to see if your case can be settled through arbitration or
by a labor tribunal as this is easier and more cost-efficient.
If you decide to take the matter to court, ensure that you prepare yourself well for it. Maintain a
record of all the incidents that you think were wrong or in violation of your rights. If possible,
note down the date and time as well. This will be immensely useful to your lawyer, who will be
able to ascertain if you have a case at all. You can use this information even while discussing the
matter with the HR team
Next, try to speak to the co-workers and see if they will support you. You can also research older
cases similar to yours. Keep in mind that your internal enquiry with the HR department may not
bear fruit as such matters are usually kept confidential. Also, go through the 'employees
handbook' and your contract to understand the company policy. This will give you a fair idea of
where you stand legally.
Harassment of Women at Workplace:

The Pakistani legal system pledges women equality under the law; the right to vote, the freedom
of speech, the right to religious freedom, amongst other rights, have been constitutionally
guaranteed by the Constitution of 1958 and reiterated in 1973, which proscribed gender
discrimination in all domains. Moreover, under the already existing articles 25, 26 and 27 of the
Pakistani Constitution, there can be no discrimination on the basis of gender in terms of rights
and employment opportunities. Despite this so-called lawful impartiality, this society still
practices the most maleficent degree of prejudice against women, in all spheres. Women are
often considered to be commodities by many and continue to suffer at the hands of men be it on

the streets, in the safety of their own homes and especially at workplace where they are most
A milestone in the relevant matter happens to be Dr. Fouzia Saeeds book Working With
Sharks that highlights the real life stories of eleven invincible women and cases that triggered a
national movement and the passing of the legislation banning sexual harassment of women at
workplace. This book is an eye opening yet inspirational insight into the morose workplace
conditions women work in at even prestigious international corporate and development offices
and encourages women to stand up to sexual harassment.
Similarly, in 1996, two sisters from a small town, Sharmeen and Shazia Khan, set out
of establish a womens cricket team in Pakistan and were faced with utmost contempt, lawsuits
and even death threats. Against all odds, the team came into formation in 1997 and represented
Pakistan in the Asian Games in 2010 and went on to win a gold medal for the country. Such
initiatives are imperative and set a precedent for women suffering sexual harassment at work and
finding a voice against it. Actions such as these coupled with the misfortune of countless women
in the county, led way for the Senate to pass the Protection Against Harassment of Women at
Workplace Act in 2010 .Despite immense opposition from religious clerics as well as political
figures the law has a broad mandate.
The Act defines harassment, in section 2(h), as Any unwelcome sexual advance, request for
sexual favors or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature or
sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with work performance or creating an
intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for
refusal to comply to such a request or is made a condition for employment. The law, also,
makes it mandatory upon all public and private organizations at adopt an internal code of
conduct, aimed at establishing a safe working environment, free of intimidation and abuse, for all
working women. Not only is a Code of conduct obligatory, furthermore companies are required,
to set up Inquiry Committees to investigate complaints of harassment, internally. A broad
definition of harassment, along with minor and major penalties and an inquiry mechanism in the

form of inquiry committees, is a step in the right direction in trying to curb sexual harassment in
the workplace.
Despite the fact that provinces have the authority to appoint an Ombudsperson to monitor
implementation of anti-harassment laws for working women, only Punjab and Sindh have done
so The Ombudsperson for Punjab, Mira Phailbus, was only recently appointed and only 10-12
cases have been dealt with by her office. Another problem, being faced in Punjab, is that
complaints are being directly referred to the Ombudsperson and not to the internal Inquiry
Committees, envisaged by the law. If the internal avenue of redress is never used, there is no
impetus for companies to set up strong committees and mete out punitive sanctions in cases of

The Express tribune quotes a senior lawyer Athar Minallah on the issue: The law

is good, but its a male-dominated society. It will take time for people to accept it. They are the
real players as they are the ones who have to register and process the complaints registered by
females . Implementation of the law has been slow, with government departments showing the
most resistance to setting up inquiry committees or referring cases to the Ombudsperson. Women
employees making complaints to the Ombudspersons office have faced instant retaliation from
their male colleagues.
Even though there have been mixed reviews regarding the anti-harassment bill; there has been
some progress, considering it has only been in place for four years. The monitoring of womens
conditions at the workplace can be difficult to carry out, but this change shall be a continuous
process that will proliferate only with inculcating courage within women to stand against this
social evil and with the general change in mindset of the masses, which shall possibly take years.
The Protection against Harassment of women at the Workplace Act, 2010 was enacted to create a
safe working environment for women which is free of harassment, abuse and intimidation and
enabling women to engage in work with dignity. Experience of the past three years has shown
that the definition of harassment and workplace do not cover matters pertaining the studies of
a student in an academic institution even though the Act itself is applicable to educational
institutes. The Act relates only to employment in an academic institution and not to matters
relating to pursuit of studies. Instances have come to notice where students and staff of an
academic institution have been declared to be outside the purview of the Act in matters relating
to pursuit of studies and not strictly related to work or employment. The amendment is intended

to remove the anomaly so as to make the Act also applicable in educational institutions to matters
relating to the pursuit of studies in addition to matters relating to work or employment