Budding Futures India P Limited Sexual Harassment Policy

1st Arpil, 2017 Version 1.0

1. Objective

1.1 To detail out the company’s approach on dealing with incidences of sexual harassment.

2. Policy

2.1 TMI strives to promote a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. The company prohibits any form of sexual harassment in the way employees behave with each other or other stakeholders.

Sexual harassment of employees occurring at work place or in other settings in which employees may find themselves in connection with their employment will be dealt with appropriately, sensitively and expeditiously.

3. Scope

3.1 This policy applies to all individuals who are employed/ engaged in permanent, contractual or outsourced staff, honorary or temporary capacity at any of the businesses, locations/offices of TMI Academy. This would also include JVs or subsidiaries, vendors and other customers. It covers sexual harassment committed on as well as outside the company premises in which employees/other stake holders may find themselves in connection with their employment/ company services. This applies equally to relations between superior and subordinates as well as between peers. This is equally applicable to sexual harassment

  • Either way between opposite genders
  • Between members of the same gender

3. Scope

3.1 This policy applies to all individuals who are employed/ engaged in permanent, contractual or outsourced staff, honorary or temporary capacity at any of the businesses, locations/offices of TMI Academy. This would also include JVs or subsidiaries, vendors and other customers. It covers sexual harassment committed on as well as outside the company premises in which employees/other stake holders may find themselves in connection with their employment/ company services. This applies equally to relations between superior and subordinates as well as between peers. This is equally applicable to sexual harassment

  • Either way between opposite genders
  • Between members of the same gender

4 Definitions & Type

4.1 A broad definition of sexual harassment consists of any physical or verbal behavior and any form of communication that has unnecessary, improper or unwelcome sexual connotations. Sexual harassment may vary in form depending on circumstances. It may consist of, but not be limited to, any of the following:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, display of sexual visuals, sexual audios, pornographic or obscene material and any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
  • Transmitting any message, by mail, telephone, e-mail, electronic text etc. which is obscene, lewd, suggestive or blatantly sexual in nature.
  • Any explicit or implicit communication wherein a sexual favour or demand, whether by words or actions, is made a condition for an individual’s employment, career progress, promotion etc. thereby creating a hostile environment.
  • Sexually charged jokes or remarks and behaviour which have sexually oriented innuendoes.
  • Consistent pattern of unnecessary physical contact, staring or targeting unreasonable attention at an individual in day to day dealings.
  • Any pervasive pattern of behaviour which makes employees uncomfortable, insecure or feels humiliated or disadvantaged on the basis of gender/ sexual orientation differentiation.
  • Actual sexual assault

4.2 Dating and/or socializing are not sexual harassment if:

  • contacts are mutually agreed
  • no unwelcome sexual conduct is involved

However, the company’s policy aims to prevent ‘conflict of interest’ if relationship involves supervisor and subordinate, which must be disclosed to the management or HR. Following a review, appropriate measures would be instituted.

4.3 Where any comment, act or conduct is committed against any person and such person has a reasonable apprehension that it is discriminatory based on gender:

  • it can be humiliating and may constitute a health and safety problem, or
  • as for instance, when the person has reasonable grounds to believe that her/his objection would disadvantage her/him in connection with her/his employment, including recruitment or promotion or advancement or
  • when it creates a hostile environment, or
  • When the complainant perceives that it is happening.

Such instances would deem to be Sexual Harassment. As mentioned above, this is an indicative but not an exhaustive list of possible forms of sexual harassment.

5. Committee

5.1 A standing Central Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee (CSHCC) for investigating Sexual Harassment cases in line with Vishakha Committee Guidelines issued by Hon'ble Supreme Court will be established at corporate level. The members of the committee will be nominated once in two years (or at such other time as the management may decide) by HR. Any replacements in the committee also will have to be authorized by HR. An organization wide communication on the names of the members of the CSHCC will be issued.

5.2 The committee composition:

  • Comprises 5 members of which at least 3 should be women
  • Committee will be headed by a woman, who will be elected by and from amongst the nominated members
  • A woman member from third party*
  • HR representative

*Third Party. A third-party member can be person from various fields who have worked for / in the field of women’s rights, including women’s rights activists; social workers; activists from NGOs; counsellors; lawyers; doctors; psychiatrists; trade unionists; representatives of peasant and agricultural organizations and journalists etc.

6 Procedure

6.1 Any incident of sexual harassment will be viewed extremely seriously. A complaint or report of sexual harassment will be immediately investigated and appropriate action will be taken against the offending employee or employees. Such action will depend on the nature and seriousness of the offense and will include verbal reprimand, strict disciplinary action including termination of service. Aggrieved employee who believes that a supervisor’s, manager’s or other employee’s actions or words constitute sexual harassment has a responsibility to report or complain about the situation as soon as possible in writing/mail giving full details of the incidence (including date, place, time and witnesses etc.) The report or complaint should be made directly to any member of the Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee at zonal level or corporate. Complaint can also be lodged with any Senior Executive/ HOD/HR representative who then have the responsibility to forward the same to the concerned SHCC. All such complaints shall be in writing with full details of the incident. In case the complaint is against any member of the Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee, the accused member should be replaced suitably.

6.2 On receipt of a complaint, the committee will immediately arrange to fully investigate all relevant details of the matter. It will do so with all possible care, sensitivity and discretion in protecting the sensibilities of the affected employee. Minimum 3 (of which 2 should be women) members would be required to conduct inquiry proceedings. The employee or employees, who have allegedly committed the offence, would be given all reasonable opportunity to defend him/herself and be heard by the committee. In the course of investigating any complaint of sexual harassment the principles of natural justice are adhered to. If the accused, being provided fair opportunity to participate in the inquiry and defend him / her fails to participate in the inquiry, the Committee may conduct the inquiry exported. The Committee will ensure confidentiality during the inquiry process.

6.3 The Committee will normally complete the inquiry process and submit a formal report comprising the proceedings of the inquiry, observations and recommendations to HR within 5 working days from the date of receiving complaint in writing unless there are justifiable exceptional circumstances.

6.4 Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee, will be deemed to be an inquiry authority and the report of the committee shall be deemed to be an inquiry report. Thereafter the Disciplinary Authority will act on the report in accordance with Disciplinary process.

Disciplinary action will be taken based on the circumstances and seriousness of the offence, including termination of services within 3 working days from the submission of the report. The delinquent employee has a provision to appeal against the disciplinary action within 2 working days from the communication on award of punishment.

6.5Where the company is legally advised that any such incident constitutes a criminal offence, the company will inform the relevant authority, provide full details and request appropriate action. If the aggrieved employee directly takes any action, against the offending employee, either civil or criminal, the committee on becoming aware of such action by the aggrieved employee shall be entitled to start the internal enquiry / investigation and recommend appropriate action.

6.6 Any retaliation against the complainant or others who cooperate with investigation also will be dealt with promptly and expeditiously. The company will ensure that the career interests of the complainant or those who cooperate in the process are not adversely affected by virtue of the individual having drawn attention to such an offence.

6.7 In order to ensure that this important matter is not trivialized, any complaint, which, in the opinion of the panel is blatantly false or frivolous or has been motivated by reasons that are clearly unconnected with gender issues, would be viewed very seriously by the company and appropriate action taken against such complainants, up to termination of services.

While all forms of harassment are prohibited, be they based on one’s race or ethnicity, the Company wishes to emphasize the special problems of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis of employment decisions affecting such individual; or
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the affected individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment is prohibited whether directed towards men or women and regardless of whether the employee accepts or rejects the advance.

The Company does not wish to interfere with the personal lives of its staff. However, conduct of a sexual nature directed toward Company employees that is not welcome and creates a hostile or abusive work environment can be unlawful sexual harassment, whether committed by supervisory or non-supervisory personnel. Examples of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment include

  • sexual touching, advances or propositions;
  • verbal abuse, epithets, derogatory statements or slurs;
  • graphic or suggestive comments about an individual’s dress or body;
  • sexually degrading words to describe an individual; and
  • the display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objective or pictures, including nude photographs.

The Company policy also applies to sexually improper conduct toward the Company’s staff by clients, customers or other non-employees. if an employee informs the Company that he or she has been subject to sexual or other harassment in the workplace by a non-employee, that individual will be informed of the Company’s policy and appropriate corrective action and preventive steps will be taken.

Please keep in mind that each of the concepts described in the preceding discussion of “sexual harassment” applies with equal force to all other types of prohibited harassment.

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