POLICY

POLICY ON PREVENTION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF EMPLOYEES AT SIGMA LABORATORIES LIMITED

Preamble

The Supreme Court of India in its 1977 judgment in Vishakha and others vs. State of Rajasthan and others makes it obligatory for every employer and other responsible persons to follow the guidelines laid down by the Court and to evolve a specific policy to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. In compliance with the mandate of the aforementioned Supreme Court Judgment, Sigma Laboratories Ltd. adopts the guidelines and procedures to prevent, prohibit and punish sexual harassment of women at the workplace. Sigma Laboratories is committed to providing for all women who fall within its jurisdiction, a work place which is free from sexual harassment, intimidation and exploitation. Every woman shall have a right to be free from Sexual Harassment and the Right to Work in an environment free from any form of Sexual Harassment.

The right of women to protection from sexual harassment and the right to work with dignity are recognized as universal human rights by international instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which has been ratified by India. The Supreme Court in the Vishakha judgment has held that each incident of sexual harassment results in the violation of the fundamental rights of Gender Equality and the Right to Life and Liberty. Sexual harassment is a clear violation of woman's right to gender equality as guaranteed under Articles 14 and 15, her right to live with dignity under Article 21 and her right to work with dignity in a safe environment under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India.

Objectives of the Policy

  • 1

    To fulfil the directive of the Supreme Court of India enjoining all employers to develop and implement a policy against sexual harassment of women at the work place.

  • 2

    To uphold Women's Right to Protection against Sexual Harassment and the Right to Livelihood and towards that end for the prevention and redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women.

  • 3

    To evolve a permanent mechanism for the prevention, prohibition and redress of sexual harassment of women at workplace within the jurisdiction of sigma Laboratories and its constituents.

  • 4

    To actively promote a social, physical and psychological environment that will raise awareness about and deter acts of sexual harassment of girls and women.


  • 5

    To ensure the implementation of the policy in letter and spirit by undertaking all necessary and reasonable steps including the constitution of appropriate Committees for purposes of gender sensitization and to conduct enquiries into complaints of sexual harassment.

  • 6

    To uphold the commitment of Sigma Laboratories and its constituents to provide an environment free of discrimination and violence against women.

Applicability

This policy applies to all categories of employees of the Company, including permanent management and workmen, temporaries, trainees and employees on contract at its workplace.

The Company will not tolerate sexual harassment, if engaged in by clients or by suppliers or any other business associates.

The Workplace Inculdes

  • All offices or other premises where the Company's business is conducted.
  • All company-related activities performed at any other site away from the Company's premises.
  • Any social, business or other functions where the conduct or comments may have an adverse impact on the workplace or workplace relations.

The Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment would mean and include any of the following:
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexual favours, either explicit or implicit, in return for employment, promotion, examination or evaluation of a person towards any company activity;
  • unwelcome sexual advances involving verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct such as sexually coloured remarks, jokes, letters, phone calls, e-mail, gestures, showing of pornography, lurid stares, physical contact or molestation, stalking, sounds, display of pictures, signs, verbal or non-verbal communication which offends the individuals sensibilities and affect her/his performance;
  • eve teasing, innuendos and taunts, physical confinement against one's will and intrusion upon one's privacy;
  • act or conduct by a person in authority which creates the environment at workplace hostile or intimidating to a person belonging to the other sex;
  • conduct of such an act at the work place or outside in relation to an Employee of Sigma Laboratories Ltd., or vice versa during the course of employment; and any unwelcome gesture by an employee having sexual overtones

Responsibilities Regarding Sexual Harassment

All employees of the Company have a personal responsibility to ensure that their behaviour is not contrary to this policy. All employees are encouraged to reinforce the maintenance of a work environment free from sexual harassment.

Complaint Mechanism

Whether or not such conduct constitutes an offence under law or a breach of the service rules, an appropriate complaint mechanism in the form of "Internal Complaints Committee" has been created in the Company for time-bound redressal of the complaint made by the victim.

The Company has instituted an Internal Complaints Committee for redressal of sexual harassment complaint (made by the victim) and for ensuring time bound treatment of such complaints.

Initially, and till further notice, the Complaints Committee will comprise of the following four members out of which at least three members will be women:

(Presiding Officer) Ms. Priya Coulagi
(Member) Mr. Tejas Coulagi
(Member) Ms. Pallavi Wankehde
(Member from NGO) Ms. Gopa Khan
The Internal Complaints Committee is responsible for:
  • Investigating every formal written complaint of sexual harassment
  • Taking appropriate remedial measures to respond to any substantiated allegations of sexual harassment
  • Discouraging and preventing employment-related sexual harassment

Procedures for Resolution, Settlement or Prosecution of Acts of Sexual Harassment

The Company is committed to providing a supportive environment to resolve concerns of sexual harassment as under:

  • A
    Informal Resolution Options

    When an incident of sexual harassment occurs, the victim of such conduct can communicate her disapproval and objections immediately to the harasser and request the harasser to behave decently. If the harassment does not stop or if victim is not comfortable with addressing the harasser directly, she can bring her concern to the attention of the Internal Complaints Committee for redressal of her grievances. The Complaints Committee will thereafter provide advice or extend support as requested and will undertake prompt investigation to resolve the matter.

  • B
    Complaints

    1. Any employee with a harassment concern, who is not comfortable with the informal resolution options or has exhausted such options, may make a formal complaint to the Presiding Officer of the Internal Complaints Committee constituted by the Management. The complaint shall have to be in writing and can be in form of a letter, preferably within 15 days from the date of occurrence of the alleged incident, sent in a sealed envelope. Alternately, the employee can send complaint through an email. The employee is required to disclose her name, department, division and location she is working in, to enable the Presiding Officer to contact her and take the matter forward.

    2. The Presiding Officer of the Internal Complaints Committee will proceed to determine whether the allegations (assuming them to be true only for the purpose of this determination) made in the complaint fall under the purview of Sexual Harassment, preferably within 30 days from receipt of the complaint. In the event, the allegation does not fall under the purview of Sexual Harassment or the allegation does not constitute an offence of Sexual Harassment, s/he will record this finding with reasons and communicate the same to the complainant.

    3. If the Presiding Officer of the Internal Complaints Committee determines that the allegations constitute an act of sexual harassment, s/he will proceed to investigate the allegation with the assistance of the Internal Complaints Committee.

    4. Where such conduct on the part of the accused amounts to a specific offence under the law, the Company shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with law by making a complaint with the appropriate authority.

    5. The Internal Complaints Committee shall conduct such investigations in a timely manner and shall submit a written report containing the findings and recommendations to the Director as soon as practically possible and in any case, not later than 90 days from the date of receipt of the complaint. The Executive Director & Head-P&A will ensure corrective action on the recommendations of the Internal Complaints Committee and keep the complainant informed of the same.

    Corrective action may include one or more of the following:
    a. Formal apology
    b. Counselling
    c. Written warning to the perpetrator and a copy of it maintained in the employee's file.
    d. Change of work assignment / transfer for either the perpetrator or the victim.
    e. Suspension or termination of services of the employee found guilty of the offence

    6. In case the complaint is found to be false, the Complainant shall, if deemed fit, be liable for appropriate disciplinary action by the Management.

Confidentiality

The Company understands that it is difficult for the victim to come forward with a complaint of sexual harassment and recognizes the victim's interest in keeping the matter confidential.

To protect the interests of the victim and others who may report incidents of sexual harassment, confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent practicable and appropriate under the circumstances.

Access to Reports and Documents

All records of complaints, including contents of meetings, results of investigations and other relevant material will be kept confidential by the Company except where disclosure is required under disciplinary or other remedial processes.

Protection to Complainant / Victim

The Company is committed to ensuring that no employee who brings forward a harassment concern is subject to any form of reprisal. Any reprisal will be subject to disciplinary action.

The Company will ensure that the victim or witnesses are not victimized or discriminated against while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment.

However, anyone who abuses the procedure (for example, by maliciously putting an allegation , knowing it to be untrue) will be subject to disciplinary action.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Company reiterates its commitment to providing its employees, with a workplace free from harassment/ discrimination and where every employee is treated with dignity and respect.