Sexual Harassment

This page was last updated on: 2021-03-13

Sexual Harassment

The Labour Act, 2007 defines sexual harassment as any unwarranted conduct of a sexual nature towards an employee which constitutes a barrier towards equality in employment where the victim has told the perpetrator that he/she finds the conduct offensive or where the perpetrator should have reasonably realized that the conduct is unacceptable, taking into account the respective positions of the parties in the place of employment, the nature of their employment relationships and the nature of the place of employment.

Any dispute may be referred to the labour commissioner. The person who refers the dispute must satisfy the labour commissioner that a copy of the notice of a dispute has been served on all parties to the dispute. The labour commissioner may then refer the dispute for resolution to the arbitrator. Where the dispute alleges discrimination, the labour Commissioner must first try to have a resolution through a conciliator and then refer the dispute to arbitration. However, despite the dispute resolution mechanism set in place, any person whose fundamental right has been violated, can approach the labour Court for appropriate relief. 

A person must not, in any employment decision or in the course of an employee’s employment, directly or indirectly sexually harass an employee.

Where a worker resigns from employment due to sexual harassment by the employer, it constitutes constructive dismissal. Since constructive dismissal constitutes unfair dismissal, the employee is entitled to remedies for unfair dismissal.

Source: §5(7)(b), 5(8) & 7 of the Labour Act, 2007

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