This policy has been framed in accordance with the provisions of “The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013” and rules framed thereunder (hereinafter “the Act”). Accordingly, while the policy covers all the key aspects of the Act, for any further clarification reference shall always be made to the Act and the provisions of the Act shall prevail.
Further, as stated in the Human Resource Management Policy “greatest asset - our employees” - Our success is based on our people. We treat each other with respect and dignity and expect everyone to promote a sense of personal responsibility. We recruit competent and motivated people who respect our values, provide equal opportunities for their development and advancement; protect their privacy and We will not tolerate behavior that could be seen as sexual harassment, discrimination by religion, caste, language, creed and respect dignity of individual regardless of position.
The ‘Policy on Prevention of Sexual Harassment of women at workplace: Guidelines for BLOOMCHEMAG intends to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and matters related to it.
PURPOSE: To create and maintain safe work environment, free form sexual harassment & discrimination for all its employees. As per the guidelines of “The Sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition & redressal) Act, 2013, The Company also believes that all employees of the Company have the right to be treated with dignity and has adopted a gender-neutral Policy and a Zero Tolerance Policy. Sexual harassment at the work place or other than work place involving employees, is a grave offence and is, therefore, punishable.
The Supreme Court has also directed companies to lay down guidelines and a forum for redressal of grievances related to sexual harassment at work place.
- 1. SCOPE: BLOOMCHEMAG aims to adopt zero tolerance attitude against any kind of Sexual Harassment or discrimination caused by any employee during their tenure, towards any other person being an employee of BLOOMCHEMAG, Client, Vendor and Contractor in Company premises or elsewhere in India or abroad
- 2. POLICY: Bloomchemag Private Limited ( BLOOMCHEMAG) ( hereinafter known as “ Company”) is an equal opportunity company and is committed to creating a healthy and safe working environment that enables employees to work without fear of prejudice, gender bias and sexual harassment.
This Policy shall be applicable to BLOOMCHEMAG and affiliates (partners & Consultants) including their successors and assigns.
“Employee” means any person on the rolls of the Company including those on deputation, contract, temporary, part time, training or working as consultants
- 1. Sexual harassment- Harassment of a Female/Male employee consisting of any unwelcome sexually determined behavior, whether directly, indirectly, by any male/female in charge of the management or a male/female co-employee either individually or in association with other persons to exploit the sexuality of co-employee to harass him/her in manner which prevents or impairs his/her full utilization of full benefits, facilities or opportunities or any other behavior which is generally considered to be derogatory
- 2. Aggrieved woman: In relation to a workplace, a woman, of any age, whether employed or not, who alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment by the respondent and includes contractual, temporary, visitors.
- 3. Respondent: A person against whom a complaint of sexual harassment has been made by the aggrieved woman
- 4. Employee: A person employed at the workplace, for any work on regular, temporary, ad-hoc or daily wage basis, either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, with or without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes a coworker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or by any other such name.
- 5. Workplace: In addition to the place of work [Head office / Branch offices, Factories] it shall also include any place where the aggrieved woman or the respondent visits in connection with his/her work, during the course of and/or arising out of employment/ contract/ engagement with BLOOMCHEMAG India Limited, including transportation provided for undertaking such a journey.
- 6. Employer: A person responsible for management, supervision and control of the workplace
Sexual Harassment shall include but not limit to:-
- Physical Contact & Sexual advances
- Demand or request for sexual favors;
- Sexually- colored remarks;
- Showing pornography;
- Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal or written conduct of a sexual nature.
Roles & Responsibilities
1. Responsibilities of Individual: It is the responsibility of all to respect the rights of others and to never encourage harassment. It can be done by:
- a. Refusing to participate in any activity which constitutes harassment
- b. Supporting the person to reject unwelcome behavior
- c. Acting as a witness if the person being harassed decides to lodge a complaint
All are encouraged to advise others of behavior that is unwelcome. Often, some behaviors are not intentional. While this does not make it acceptable, it does give the person behaving inappropriately, the opportunity to modify or stop their offensive behavior.
- 2. Responsibilities of Managers: All managers at BLOOMCHEMAG India Limited must ensure that nobody is subject to harassment and there is equal treatment. They must also ensure that all employees understand that harassment will not be tolerated; that complaints will be taken seriously; and that the complainant, respondent/s, or witnesses are not victimized in any way.
Constitution of “Complaint Redressal Committee or Internal Committee:
In compliance with the Act, if the complainant’s warrants formal intervention, the complainant needs to lodge a written complaint, which shall be followed by a formal redressal mechanism as described in this Policy. In case of a verbal complaint, the complaint will be reduced in writing by the receiver of the complaint and signatures of the complainant will be obtained.
A quorum of 3 persons is required to be present for the proceedings to take place. The quorum shall include the Chairperson and at least two members
To prevent instances of sexual harassment and to receive and effectively deal with complaints pertaining to the same, an "Internal Committee" is constituted at each location. The detail of the committee is notified to all covered persons at the location (workplace).
The committee comprises of:
- Presiding Officer: A woman employed at a senior level in the organization or workplace
- At least 2 members from amongst employees, committed to the cause of women and or having legal knowledge
- One external member, familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment
- At least one half of the total members is women
The committee is responsible for:
- Receiving complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace
- Initiating and conducting inquiry as per the established procedure
- Submitting findings and recommendations of inquiries
- Coordinating with the employer in implementing appropriate action
- Maintaining strict confidentiality throughout the process as per established guidelines
- Submitting annual reports in the prescribed format
Current nominated members of the committees are given in Annexure A.
GRIEVANCE MECHANISM: PROCEDURE TO REGISTER COMPLAINTS:
Each complaint of Sexual Harassment shall be dealt with utmost confidentiality and urgency by an Internal committee consisting of:
- I. Presiding Officer
- II. Member
- III. Member
- IV. Member
- V. External Member (From NGO or Psychologist or lawyer)
A. Within 3 working days, the Internal committee shall commence Official Internal Enquiry by:
- I. By informing the said complaint to the respondent.
- II. By instructing to stop the alleged act of Sexual Harassment immediately
- III. By informing not to reach out to the complainant directly or indirectly
- IV. BY asking an immediate explanation from him/her to the same
- B. Within 5 working days from the receipt of original complaint, the designated person shall respond in writing to the complainant informing him/her about the initial steps taken by BCPL in order to stop the alleged act(s)
- C. Within 15 days from receipt of the original complaint, the Internal committee shall record and accordingly communicate in writing to the complainant and the Respondent, its prima facie findings, upon giving the concerned parties a fair and due opportunity to represent themselves and upon conducting fact finding, truth verification and counseling sessions with persons involved in alleged act(s)
- D. A complaint will be closed no later than one month from receipt of original complaint by recording the decisions of the internal committee, accordingly informing to the complainant and the Respondent of the same.
- E. Within 2 working days from receipt of prima facie findings or the charges, if the complainant or the Respondent is dissatisfied with the decision of internal committee, she or he may appeal specifying the reasons in writing to Managing Director. Within 5 working days from the receipt, the appeal shall be finally disposed of by written communication to the said party. The decision of Managing Director shall be final and cannot be appealed.
F. Employees are duty bound to assist in investigative steps, employees’ wholehearted participation shall be mandatory in this regard. Whistleblowers shall be protected from exposure, retaliation or hostility. If the aggrieved woman is unable to lodge the complaint in account of her incapacity, the following may do so on her behalf, with her written consent.
- - Legal heir, relative or friend
- - Co-worker
- - Any person having the knowledge of the incident
If the initial complaint is made to a person other than a committee member, upon receiving such a complaint, it will be the responsibility of the complaint receiver to report the same to the committee immediately.
Wherever possible BLOOMCHEMAG ensures that all the complaints of harassment are dealt with speedily, discreetly and as close as possible to the point of origin.
Receiving a Complaint (guidelines)
Dealing with incidents of harassment is not like any other type of dispute. Complainants may be embarrassed and distressed and it requires tact and discretion while receiving the complaint.
The following points are kept in mind by the receiver of the complaint:
- - Complaints are listened to and the complainant informed that the Company takes the concerns seriously. Complainant is informed that these concerns will be reported to the appropriate committee and follow up will be done speedily
- - Situations are not pre-judged. Written notes are taken while listening to the person. Complainant is allowed to bring another person to the meeting if they wish. When taking accurate notes, complainants own words, where possible, is used. Clear description of the incident in simple and direct terms is prepared and details are confirmed with the complainant.
- - All notes are kept strictly confidential. Complainant’s agreement is taken to allow proceeding with the matter, which involves a formal investigation.
- - The complainant is advised that although the process is confidential, the respondent needs to be informed and any witnesses and persons directly involved in the complaint process will also learn of the complainant’s identity
(Care is taken to prevent any disadvantage to or victimization of either the complainant or the respondent)
Resolution procedure through conciliation
Once the complaint is received, before initiating the inquiry the committee may take steps to conciliate the complaint between the complainant and the respondent. This is only if requested by the aggrieved woman.
It is made clear to all parties that conciliation in itself doesn’t necessarily mean acceptance of complaint by the respondent. It is a practical mechanism through which issues are resolved or misunderstandings cleared.
In case a settlement is arrived at, the committee records & reports the same to the employer for taking appropriate action. Resolution through conciliation happens within 2 weeks of receipt of complaint.
The committee provides copies of the settlement to complainant & respondent. Once the action is implemented, no further inquiry is conducted
Resolution procedure through formal inquiry
The committee initiates inquiry in the following cases:
- No conciliation is requested by aggrieved woman
- Conciliation has not resulted in any settlement
- Complainant informs the committee that any term or condition of the settlement arrived through conciliation, has not been complied with by respondent
The Committee proceeds to make an inquiry into the complaint within a period of 1 week of its receipt of the original complaint/closure of conciliation/repeat complaint.
Manner of inquiry into complaint:
- Complainant should submit the complaint along with supporting documents and the names of the witnesses
- Upon receipt of the complaint, the committee sends 1 copy of the complaint to respondent within 7 working days
- Respondent replies with all supporting documents within 10 working days of receiving the copy of the complaint
- No legal practitioner can represent any party at any stage of the inquiry procedure
- The Complaints Committee makes inquiry into the complaint in accordance with the principles of natural justice
- In conducting the inquiry, a minimum of three committee members including the Presiding Officer is present
During pendency of the inquiry, on a written request made by the complainant, the committee may recommend to the employer to -
- Transfer the complainant or the respondent to any other workplace
- Grant leave to the aggrieved woman of maximum 3 months, in addition to the leave she would be otherwise entitled
- Prevent the respondent from assessing complainant’s work performance
- Grant such other relief as may be appropriate
Once the recommendations of interim relief are implemented, the employer will inform the committee regarding the same
Termination of Inquiry
Committee at BLOOMCHEMAG India Limited may terminate the inquiry or give ex-parte decision, if complainant or respondent respectively is absent for 3 consecutive hearings, without reason. 15 day written notice to be given to the party, before termination or ex-parte order
All proceedings of the inquiry is documented. The Committee interviews the respondent separately and impartially. Committee states exactly what the allegation is and who has made the allegation. The respondent is given full opportunity to respond and provide any evidence etc. Detailed notes of the meetings are prepared which may be shared with the respondent and complainant upon request. Any witnesses produced by the respondent are also interviewed & statements are taken.
If the complainant or respondent desires to cross examine any witnesses, the Committee facilitates the same and records the statements.
In case complainant or respondent seeks to ask questions to the other party, they may give them to the Committee which asks them and records the statement of the other party.
Any such inquiry is completed, including the submission of the Inquiry Report, within 90 days from the date on which the inquiry is commenced. The inquiry procedure ensures absolute fairness to all parties.
Considerations while preparing inquiry report
While preparing the findings/recommendations, following are considered:
- Whether the language used (written or spoken), visual material or physical behavior was of sexual or derogatory nature
- Whether the allegations or events follow logically and reasonably from the evidence
- Credibility of complainant, respondent, witnesses and evidence
- Other similar facts, evidence, for e.g. if there have been any previous accounts of harassment pertaining to the respondent
- Both parties have been given an opportunity of being heard
- A copy of the proceedings were made available to both parties enabling them to make representation against the findings
A copy of the final findings is shared with the complainant and the respondent to give them an opportunity to make a representation on the findings to the committee
Action to be taken after inquiry
Post the inquiry the committee submits its report containing the findings and recommendations to the employer, within 10 days of completion of the inquiry.
The findings and recommendations are reached from the facts established and is recorded accurately.
If the situation so requires, or upon request of the complainant, respondent or witness, Management at BLOOMCHEMAG India Limited may decide to take interim measures such as transfer, changing of shift, grant of leave etc. to protect against victimization or distress during or subsequent to the course of inquiry, pending the final outcome.
Where the committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has not been proved, it recommends to the employer that no action is required to be taken in this matter.
Further, the committee ensures that both parties understand that the matter has been fully investigated, that the matter is now concluded and neither will be disadvantaged within the company.
Where the committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has been proved, it recommends to the employer to take necessary action for sexual harassment as misconduct, in accordance with the applicable service rules and policies, and this may include:
- i. Counseling
- ii. Censure or reprimand
- iii. Apology to be tendered by respondent
- iv. Written warning
- v. Withholding promotion and/or increments
- vi. Suspension
- vii. Termination
- viii. Or any other action that the Management may deem fit.
The employer at BLOOMCHEMAG acts upon the recommendations within 60 days and confirm to the committee
Post implementation of the actions, follow up with the complainant occurs to ascertain whether the behavior has in fact stopped, the solution is working satisfactorily and if no victimization of either party is occurring. This follow up is undertaken by the complainant’s Line Manager supported by HR.
Where the committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent is malicious or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has made the complaint knowing it to be false or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend to the employer to take action against the woman or the person making the complaint.
The action recommended should be similar to the ones proposed for the respondent in case of substantiated complaints.
While deciding malicious intent, the committee should consider that mere inability to substantiate a complaint need not mean malicious intent. Malicious intent must be clearly established through a separate inquiry.
The identity of the complainant, respondent, witnesses, statements and other evidence obtained in the course of inquiry process, recommendations of the committees, action taken by the employer is considered as confidential materials, and not published or made known to public or media.
Any person contravening the confidentiality clauses is subject to disciplinary action as prescribed in the act.
Any party not satisfied or further aggrieved by the implementation or non-implementation of recommendations made, may appeal to the appellate authority in accordance with the Act and rules, within 90 days of the recommendations being communicated.
Other Points to be considered
- 1. The Committee may recommend to the HR Department the action which may include transfer, dismissal or any of the other appropriate disciplinary action.
- 2. The management shall provide all necessary assistance for the purpose of ensuring full, effective and speedy implementation of this policy.
- 3. Where sexual harassment occurs as a result of an act or omission by any third party or outsider, the Company shall take all steps necessary and reasonable to assist the affected person in terms of support and preventive action.
- 4. The Committee shall analyze and submit a report on all complaints of this nature at the end of the Calendar year to HR Department.
- 5. In case, the Committee finds the degree of offence coverable under the Indian Penal Code, then this fact shall be mentioned in their report and appropriate action shall be initiated by the Management, for filing a Police Complaint.
- 6. In case, the Complainant or the person against whom the complaint is filed is aggrieved by the decision / action taken by the Committee, she / he may challenge the same before the court / forum to which she / he is ordinarily entitled to approach to challenge any decision of the management taken against him / her in respect of any misconduct.
- 7. The name of the aggrieved employee shall not be referred to / revealed in any records of proceedings by the Committee / Company to any press / media or any other persons whilst reporting the proceedings / case.
|Internal Committee at Head Office BLOOMCHEMAG India Limited|
Presiding Officer - Ms.
MemberExternal Member - Ms.
Employer – Bloomchemag Private Limited