Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act – A Comprehensive Guide to Indian Law.

October 24, 2023
All India Judiciary


Sexual harassment at the workplace is a grave violation of human rights and a hindrance to gender equality and professional development. In India, stringent laws have been put in place to combat this issue and create a safe working environment for everyone. This article explores the concept of sexual harassment at the workplace under Indian law, its various forms, legal provisions, and the measures employers and employees can take to prevent and address this problem effectively.

Sexual Harassment meaning

Sexual harassment is broadly defined under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013. It includes unwelcome conduct with a sexual intent, such as physical contact, requests for sexual favors, sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, or any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Harassment laws in India

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013: This landmark legislation mandates the establishment of Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs) in organizations with 10 or more employees. ICCs are responsible for addressing complaints and conducting inquiries into allegations of sexual harassment. Employers failing to comply with the Act can face severe penalties.

Vishakha Guidelines: Before the enactment of the 2013 Act, the Vishakha Guidelines, issued by the Supreme Court of India in 1997, provided the framework for addressing sexual harassment. These guidelines stressed the need for a safe working environment for women and outlined preventive and remedial measures.

Type of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can manifest in various forms, including:

Physical Harassment: Unwanted physical contact, gestures, or advances.

Verbal Harassment: Inappropriate comments, jokes, or remarks with sexual undertones.

Non-Verbal Harassment: Lewd gestures, stalking, or indecent exposure.

Visual Harassment: Display of explicit material, including photographs or videos.

Prevention and Redressal


Awareness Programs: Conduct regular workshops and training sessions to educate employees about their rights and responsibilities.

Strict Policies: Implement and communicate a clear sexual harassment policy outlining the organization’s stand against such behavior.

Supportive Environment: Foster a workplace culture where victims are encouraged to come forward without fear of retaliation.


Internal Complaints Committee (ICC): Establish an ICC in the workplace, consisting of both male and female employees, to handle complaints impartially.

Confidentiality: Ensure confidentiality during the inquiry process to protect the identity of the complainant.

Timely Action: Conduct prompt and fair investigations, providing a fair chance for the accused to present their case.

Legal Action: If necessary, involve law enforcement agencies for criminal proceedings against the perpetrator.


Sexual harassment at the workplace is a deeply entrenched issue that requires proactive measures to combat effectively. By adhering to the legal provisions, creating awareness, and fostering a supportive environment, workplaces in India can become safe spaces for all employees. It is not just a legal obligation but also a moral responsibility for employers to ensure that every individual is treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their gender. Through collective efforts, society can dismantle the structures that enable sexual harassment, paving the way for a more equal and just future.

Leave a Comment