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Saturday, January 1, 2011

GENUNE GRIEVANCE - SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Dated:03/01/2011

The General Manager (Operations), Head Office, State Bank Of Hyderabad, Gunfoundry.

Copy :

The General Manager (Inspection/Treasury), H.O. State Bank Of Hyderabad, Gunfoundry.

Sir(s),

Please refer my several representations against Sri Venkataraman, Deputy General Manager Inspection Department, H.O., since April 2010. I had also complained against the Chief Manager, Sri T. Ayyanna of Office Administration Department in my letter dated 17/06/2010. But all my representations have gone in vain. Instead, the above stated bank Officials have successfully obfuscated and diverted the attention from my genuine grievances to framing of cooked up flimsy charges against me. They have also indulged in erroneous calculation of the recoveries on loss of pay from 2002 to 2006. I can substantiate the same with the related documents. The suspension order bellying the flimsy charges only obfuscates the real issues and diverts the attention from my genuine grievances of sexual harassment.

Combat Law, Volume 2, Issue 3 - Sexual Harassment affects all women in some form or the other. Lewd remarks, touching, wolf-whistles, looks are part of any woman?s life, so much so that it is dismissed as normal.Working women are no exception. In fact, working women most commonly face the backlash to women taking new roles, which belong to male domains within patriarchy. Sexual Harassment at work is an extension of violence in everyday life and is discriminatory, exploitative, thriving in atmosphere of threat, terror and reprisal.

Sexual harassment is all about expression of male power over women that sustain patriarchal relations. It is used to remind women of their vulnerability and subjugated status. In a society where violence against women, both subtle and direct, is borne out of the patriarchal values operating in society, force women?s conformity to gendered roles. These patriarchal values and attitudes of both men and women pose the greatest challenge in resolution and prevention of sexual harassment.

Studies find that sexual harassment is still endemic, often hidden, and present in all kinds of organisations. Yet it is still not always viewed as a problem, which has to be systematically tackled. The issue is of concern for both women and the employers as studies show that sexual harassment touches lives of nearly 40-60% of working women.

Thus, combating sexual harassment involves developing understanding of what is sexual harassment and change of attitudes in all- be it employees, colleagues, friends, administrators, employers or the law makers.

Sexual Harassment: The Law

Sexual harassment has been recognised as most intimidating, most violating form of violence since long in countries like UK, USA and many countries have not only taken note of how degrading experiences of sexual harassment can be for women as well as employers but have adapted legislative measures to combat sexual harassment.

In India, it has been only six years since sexual harassment was for the first time recognised by The Supreme Court as human rights violation and gender based systemic discrimination that affects women?s Right to Life and Livelihood. The Court defined sexual harassment very clearly as well as provided guidelines for employers to redress and prevent sexual harassment at workplace.

While the Apex Court has given mandatory guidelines, known as Vishaka Guidelines, for resolution and prevention of sexual harassment enjoining employers by holding them responsible for providing safe work environment for women, the issue still remains under carpets for most women and employers.

Vishaka guidelines apply to both organized and unorganized work sectors and to all women whether working part time, on contract or in voluntary/honorary capacity. The guidelines are a broad framework which put a lot of emphasis on prevention and within which all appropriate preventive measures can be adapted. One very important preventive measure is to adopt a sexual harassment policy, which expressly prohibits sexual harassment at work place and provides effective grievance procedure, which has provisions clearly laid down for prevention and for training the personnel at all levels of employment.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

According to The Supreme Court definition, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, such as:-

  • Physical contact

  • A demand or request for sexual favours

  • Sexually coloured remarks

  • Showing pornography

  • Any other physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Harassment takes place if a person:

  • subjects another person to an unwelcome act of physical intimacy, like grabbing, brushing, touching, pinching etc.

  • makes an unwelcome demand or request (whether directly or by implication) for sexual favours from another person, and further makes it a condition for employment/payment of wages/increment/promotion etc.

  • makes an unwelcome remark with sexual connotations, like sexually explicit compliments/cracking loud jokes with sexual connotations/ making sexist remarks etc.

  • shows a person any sexually explicit visual material, in the form of pictures/cartoons/pin-ups/calendars/screen savers on computers/any offensive written material/pornographic e-mails, etc.

  • engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which could be verbal, or even non-verbal, like staring to make the other person uncomfortable, making offensive gestures, kissing sounds, etc.

It is sexual harassment if a supervisor requests sexual favours from a junior in return for promotion or other benefits or threatens to sack for non-cooperation. It is also sexual harassment for a boss to make intrusive inquiries into the private lives of employees, or persistently ask them out. It is sexual harassment for a group of workers to joke and snigger amongst themselves about sexual conduct in an attempt to humiliate or embarrass another person.

Quid pro quo and hostile work environment are the two broad types of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment at workplace is generally classified into two distinct types. 'Quid pro quo', means seeking sexual favours or advances in exchange for work benefits and it occurs when consent to sexually explicit behaviour or speech is made a condition for employment or refusal to comply with a 'request' is met with retaliatory action such as dismissal, demotion, difficult work conditions. 'Hostile working environment' is more pervasive form of sexual harassment involving work conditions or behaviour that make the work environment 'hostile' for the woman to be in. Certain sexist remarks, display of pornography or sexist/obscene graffiti, physical contact/brushing against female employees are some examples of hostile work environment, which are not made conditions for employment.

Unwelcome:

UNWELCOME is the key in defining sexual harassment. It is the impact and effect the behaviour has on the recipient that will define the behaviour as sexual harassment.

What is a workplace? A workplace is any place where working relationships exist, where employer ? employee relations exist.

August-September 2003

In view of the suspension order issued on 26/10/2010, vide lrno:1854 dt 26/10/2010, it is to complain that as per rules and regulations the suspended employee has to be served the show cause notice within a month's time, however, there has been no such show cause notice served to me. In fact, even when I approached the above stated Officials in person, I was denied the same over irrelevant pretext. However, Sri Srinivas, PS to the General Manager (Inspection/Treasury) assured that the same shall be sent by post and by email. So far I have not received neither of it. Please instruct the related Officials to handover the same to me when I approach them in person. I shall sign and take the same.

The subsistence salary during suspension period has also not been paid in time. There has been considerable delay and the same for December 2010 is still unpaid.

Conclusively, it is all self explanatory and clearly expresses the harassed state of the undersigned staff who is subjected to unnecessary monetary loss, mental stress and inhumanity in view of her health condition. Please take cognizance of my genuine grievance.

Thanking your good offices.

Sincerely,

MS KOTHAKOTA ASHALATA P, DECO 1986,