Facing sexual harassment at the workplace can be a harrowing experience. Regardless of whether it was a one-time, subtle gesture that made you uncomfortable or a series of actions/comments over time, it can affect your mental health, self-esteem, and work performance.
If you have faced sexual harassment at the workplace, here are a few steps you can take:
- Share your experience with a trusted friend, colleague, or team member
- Read your company’s Prevention of Sexual Harassment policy to understand who to contact
- Reach out to your company’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) or take the help of someone you trust (inside or outside your organisation) to report the issue to the ICC
- If you have any evidence like screenshots, audio recordings, or if you can think of anyone who may have witnessed what happened, keep a record
- If you don’t have evidence and/or witnesses, don’t let it prevent you from reporting the issue–make a note of date, time, location
- Most importantly: don’t dismiss the issue–report it as soon as possible
The Constitution of India has recognised sexual harassment as a violation of fundamental human rights. It is in your company’s interest to take up any complaint of sexual harassment. This is because filing a complaint helps your company take steps to become a safer workplace.
Remember: ignoring or dismissing the issue increases the chances of the behaviour being repeated.
If you are worried about the impact on your career, or whether your complaint will be taken seriously, or if the Respondent might retaliate against you, reach out to your Internal Complaints Committee. They are legally bound to guide you, ensure your safety, and conduct a fair investigation.