SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION & REDRESSAL POLICY
Yash Raj Films Private Limited (‘YRF’ or ‘employer’) aims to create and maintain a safe work environment, free from all forms of harassment including sexual harassment & discrimination for all its employees and persons engaged by YRF on contract basis or visitors. YRF has zero tolerance towards any kind of sexual harassment, especially against women employees of YRF.
As a responsible and law-abiding organization, we strive to ensure that our Employees are protected against any form of sexual harassment at the workplace and enjoy the right to work with dignity which is recognized as a universal human right.
This Policy applies to all employees, female, male or transgenders, of YRF and is deemed to be incorporated in the service conditions of all Employees and comes into effect immediately. The Policy also applies to individuals engaged on a fixed term contract or short-term engagement with YRF, including trainees, contractual employees and visitors in our premises.
B. IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS
- “Aggrieved Individual” means in relation to a workplace, a person, of any age, whether employed or not, who alleges to have been subject to any act of sexual harassment by the Respondent and includes contractual, temporary employees and visitors.
- “Appropriate Government” shall have the same meaning as provided in the Act.
- “Complainant” is any Aggrieved Individual (including a representative as more fully described under Rule 6 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 (“Rules”) if the Aggrieved Individual is unable to make a complaint on account of his/her physical or mental incapacity or death or otherwise) who makes a complaint alleging Sexual Harassment under this Policy.
- “Committee” means IC or DC, as the case may be.
- “Employer” means a person/people who is/are responsible for management, supervision and control of the Workplace including appointment/removal/termination of Employees.
- “IC” means internal committee formed by the Employer under Section 4 of POSH Act (defined below) to hear and investigate sexual harassment complaints of women present at the Workplace whether employed or not.
- “DC” means disciplinary committee formed by the Employer to hear and investigate sexual harassment complaints of all genders excluding women.
- “Employees” includes the permanent employees, trainees, part time employees as well as the person(s) who are engaged on contractual basis by YRF.
- “Presiding officer” means the presiding officer of the IC or DC, as the case may be and shall be a woman employed at a senior level at the workplace amongst the employees. The Presiding Officer of YRF is as mentioned under Clause G (IV). For abundance of clarity the Presiding officer of the DC can either be a woman or a man employed by the Company as per the Company’s discretion.
- “Respondent” means a person against whom a complaint of sexual harassment has been made under this policy.
- “Workplace” means establishments, enterprises, institutions, offices, branches, premises, locations or units established, owned, controlled by YRF or places visited by the Employees out of or during the course of employment including accommodation, transportation provided by the Employer for undertaking such journey.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“POSH Act”) has been enacted by the Government of India with the objective of preventing and prohibiting sexual harassment of women at workplace and to provide for a framework for effective and speedy redressal of complaints of sexual harassment. The statute aims at providing every employee a safe, secure and dignified working environment, free from all forms of harassment.
The POSH Act provides for remedy to only women against sexual harassment. YRF believe that even men and transgender, who play a key role in the film industry, may also be harassed sexually. Therefore, the present policy addresses sexual harassment against women, men and transgenders and provides redressal mechanism for all genders.
The Policy framework broadly adopts the procedure and provisions for inquiry against sexual harassment as provided under POSH Act. Any sexual harassment complaints filed by women employees would be strictly governed by the POSH Act read with the Policy to the extent the Policy is not contrary or inconsistent to the POSH Act. In the event of any conflict between the provisions of POSH Act and the provisions contained in this Policy, the provisions of POSH Act shall prevail. A copy of the POSH Act and Rules are annexed to this Policy.
YRF hereby declares that it has zero tolerance towards any form of sexual harassment and that no Employee of YRF or persons, irrespective of gender i.e. women, men or transgender, shall be subjected to sexual harassment at the workplace i.e. the premises of the YRF or elsewhere as defined under the POSH Act.
The objective of this document is to lay down a policy statement for:
F. Meaning and scope of sexual harassment
- declaring that no person (women, men and transgenders) shall be subjected to sexual harassment at workplace;
- defining the scope of sexual harassment and its coverage;
- creating awareness and sensitizing the Employees regarding sexual harassment at workplace and its adverse impact so as to prevent the same;
- constitution of an IC and DC to hear relevant complaints of sexual harassment as provided in definitions above and to provide relief to victims / survivors and punishment to the harassers / wrong doers;
- encouraging the victims / survivors of sexual harassment to approach the IC or DC, as the case may be, fearlessly, with their complaints at the earliest;
- laying down the procedures for speedy redressal sexual harassment complaints maintaining confidentiality and sensitivity;
- providing punishment for malicious and wrongful complaints;
- ensuring compliance with the POSH Act.
G. AWARENESS OF THE POLICY
1. What is sexual harassment?
Sexual Harassment shall include the following unwelcome acts or behaviour:
2. What amounts to sexual harassment?
- physical contact and advances.
- demand or request for sexual favours.
- making sexually- coloured remarks.
- showing pornography.
- Any prevention of conduct (including mails, Facebook messages, WhatsApp messages, SMS messages, snapchat or any other means of electronic communication) of a sexual nature.
The following circumstances, among other circumstances, if they occur or are present in relation to or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment may amount to sexual harassment:
- implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment.
- implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment.
- implied or explicit threat about present or future employment status.
- interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment.
- humiliating treatment likely to affect the employee’s health or safety.
I. An Employee’s Responsibilities under this Policy:
All employees are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the key elements of the Policy including the procedures for redressal against sexual harassment.
- abstain from committing any acts which amount to sexual harassment at the Workplace.
- Report incidents of sexual harassment without fear or favour.
- Create an environment of conduciveness for co-workers to work together without fear of harassment.
- Abstain from making any malicious or false sexual harassment complaints.
- Get clarifications from any member of the Committee whenever in doubt.
- If you Are Sexually Harassed:
- Don’t be ashamed and don’t blame yourself.
- Say NO clearly. Inform the offender that his/her attentions / acts / advances are unwanted.
- Make it clear that you find the behaviour offensive. If it persists, write a memo to the offender asking him/her to stop; keep a copy.
- Remember that sexual harassment is not only against YRF’s policy but also against the law.
- Know your rights under this policy.
- Keep a written, dated record of events. Write down each incident including date, time and place, details of what happened and your response. Confide in one of the Committee members.
- Get help. Don’t delay.
For avoidance of doubt, failure to act in the manner provided above does not in any way preclude a Complainant from filing his/her complaint. The Committee shall not use non-compliance of the above to dismiss the case without a thorough investigation.
II. Employer’s Responsibilities under this Policy:
- provide a safe working environment at the workplace;
- create awareness of the sexual harassment policy amongst the employees;
- constitute the IC and DC specifying the constitution of its members, their qualification, scope and the tenure the members;
- provide necessary facilities to the IC and DC for dealing with the complaint and conducting an inquiry;
- if found guilty, take disciplinary action against the accused/frivolous complaints.
III. Respondent and Complainant:
- The Respondent and Complainant can be man or woman or transgender; complaints by women regarding sexual harassment shall be filed with the IC and all other complaints shall be filed with the DC.
- The Respondent can be any Employee or a non-employee including visitors to YRF, who is alleged to have sexually harassed the Aggrieved Individual or Complainant.
- The Complainant can be either an Employee or a non-employee or a visitor in the YRF premises.
- The Respondent’s conduct must be unwelcome. Provided, if the Respondent is a supervisor of the Complainant or any person senior in position to the Complainant, then any consent by the Complainant shall be deemed as consent given under duress or coercion and not by free will.
- Sexual harassment can occur off work premises if the activity is related to employment (i.e., employer’s picnic, offsites, dinner, shooting etc.).
IV. Constitution of Internal Committee:
To reinforce YRF’s commitment to the dignity of its Employee’s or non-employees in workplace and to ensure that anyone who may have been victimized has a clear path to voice their complaint, YRF has established an IC and DC for speedy hearing of complaints of sexual harassment, to give a finding on whether an act of sexual harassment has taken place or not and to recommend punitive action against the offender, if proven guilty of sexual harassment.
Tenure of the members:
The IC members shall be appointed for a term of 3 (three) years, whereupon new members shall be appointed to the IC.
The tenure of the members shall automatically cease upon completion of the term of 3 (three) years or cessation of their employment with YRF or upon superannuation. The vacant seat shall be expeditiously filled by the Employer in accordance with the law.
The same members will also act as the DC to consider and redress complaints of sexual harassment against men and transgenders, as well as complaints related to all other types of harassment for both men and women, provided however, the members of DC shall at all times bear in mind that they do not have the same powers as granted to them under the POSH Act while hearing and investigating the complaints, unless otherwise provided by law, regulations or rules. The tenure of the members of DC, number of members to constitute DC and quorum for hearing shall be decided by YRF at its sole discretion.
Complaints filed by women within the statutory limitation period (as provided in Clause V below) must be heard by the IC.
V. Complaint of sexual harassment:
A complaint, in writing, shall be lodged with the IC or DC, as the case may be within 3 (three) months from the date of the incident and in case of more than one incident, within 3 (three) months from the date of the last incident of sexual harassment by:
- the Complainant.
- In case of more than one complainant, by all or any one or more of them.
- a relative or friend of the complainant, any co-employee or any other person who has the knowledge of the incident with written authorization/written consent of the Complainant.
The Complainant shall give his/her complaint in writing in six copies along with supporting documents and list of witnesses, to the IC or DC (as the case maybe) or any of its member either by submitted a physical copy of the complaint and documents or mailing a soft copy of the complaint and the documents to the email id firstname.lastname@example.org
in case the Complainant is a woman, and to email@example.com
in case the Complainant is a person other than a woman. For avoidance of doubt, IC/DC as the case maybe shall also accept those complaints which are filed by a non-Employee against a non-Employee if the alleged sexual harassment occurred in the Workplace of YRF or assist the Complainant in filing of a complaint with the IC of the Respondent’s organization, if it believes that the IC of Respondent’s organization will have more control of the case to provide the Complainant with justice.
It is advised that the Complainant should give the details of incident(s) in the complaint mentioning therein the date of such incident(s), the place(s) where the said incident(s) took place, any witnesses to the incident(s).
In case the Complainant finds it difficult to articulate the facts of the incident, the Complainant may approach the IC or DC, as the case may be, or any of its members who shall provide all reasonable assistance to the Complainant to make the complaint in writing.
The period of three months from the date of the incident or last incident for filing complaint may be extended by the IC by another three months upon sufficient reasons shown by the Complainant. Such grant of extension of time for filing complaint shall be allowed in writing by the IC. In the event, the Appropriate Government, forms a committee to hear the complaints of sexual harassment by women exceeding the period of statutory limitation, women complainants shall be directed to such committee.
VI. Procedure for dealing with Complaints of sexual harassment:
- After receiving a complaint of sexual harassment, the IC or DC as the case may be, may, before initiating an inquiry, and at the request of the Complainant initiate resolution of the matter by conciliation between the Complainant and the Respondent. Provided however, in an event where a complaint of sexual harassment is filed by a man against a woman in DC, and the woman has filed a complaint of sexual harassment with the IC, the choice of conciliation shall be with the woman. If conciliation is not reached, DC shall suspend such case until the IC investigates and reaches a conclusion in such matter.
- Any settlement as a result of conciliation between the parties must be mutually acceptable to both the Complainant and the Respondent.
- The IC or DC as the case may be shall record the settlement arrived at between the Complainant and the Respondent and shall provide the copies of settlement to the Complainant and the Respondent.
- In case of a settlement, no further inquiry shall be conducted by the IC or DC. In conciliation proceedings under IC, money shall not be a basis of the settlement.
- In case the parties fail to reach any settlement or if the Complainant wishes to opt out of the said conciliation, the IC or DC shall proceed to conduct the inquiry as per the procedure prescribed.
VII. Action during pendency of Inquiry:
In order to ensure a fair and impartial inquiry into the complaint, the IC or DC may recommend the Employer at their sole discretion to:
- issue notice of administrative leave to the Respondent and ask him/her not to attend office/work place during the pendency of the inquiry; or
- temporarily suspend the Respondent from employment pending completion
- grant paid leave to the Complainant for a period of 3 (three) months.
VIII. Criminal Proceedings:
Where any conduct of sexual harassment amounts to a specific offence under the Indian Penal Code or under any other applicable law, the IC shall, if the woman Complainant so desires or chooses, assist in or initiate appropriate action in accordance with law including filing/registering a complaint with the appropriate authority.
IX. Inquiry Procedure:
- The IC or DC shall deliver a copy of the complaint to the Respondent within 7 (seven) working days from the date of receipt of complaint.
- The Respondent shall file/submit a reply to the complaint within 10 (ten) working days from the date of receipt of the complaint by the Respondent.
- If no reply is filed by the Respondent, then the IC or DC as the case may be shall proceed with the inquiry on the basis of the complaint filed by the Complainant.
- The Complainant and the Respondent shall be given fair opportunity to cross-examine each other’s witnesses and/or produce any documents in support etc.
- The IC or DC shall record the evidence of the witnesses of both the parties.
- All the proceedings of the IC or DC shall be recorded and shall be endorsed by the Complainant and the Respondent in token of authenticity thereof.
- Both the Complainant and the Respondent shall not be allowed to bring in any legal practitioner to represent them.
- At the commencement of the inquiry the IC or the DC shall explain to both the parties the procedure to be followed in inquiry.
- The IC or DC as the case may be shall make inquiry into the complaint in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
- The venue for inquiry shall be within the YRF or as provided by the Employer to maintain confidentiality and impartiality of the process.
- The IC shall ensure that every possible opportunity is extended to both the parties to put forward or defending their case.
- In conducting the inquiry, a minimum of 3 (three) members of the IC including the Presiding Officer shall be present.
- The IC shall complete that inquiry within a period of 90 (ninety) days from the date of commencement of the inquiry.
- Thee IC shall provide report on findings within 10 (ten) days after the completion of an inquiry to the Employer and parties.
- Subject to Clause VI(a) above, the DC shall attempt to complete the inquiry within 90 (ninety) days from the date of commencement of the inquiry. Should the DC require additional time to complete an inquiry, it shall in consultation with the Employer, determine the appropriate time for completion of the inquiry and submission of the report.
X. Findings and Directions of the IC/DC:
- On the completion of an inquiry, if the IC or DC (as the case may be) arrives at a conclusion that the Respondent has subjected the Complainant to sexual harassment, then the IC or DC shall recommend to the Employer any award/relief, at its sole discretion, as per the applicable laws and the POSH Act.
- Initiate an inquiry against the Complainant in the event the IC has a reason to believe that the allegation against the Respondent was filed with malicious or ulterior motive(s). Upon the completion of such inquiry if the Committee arrives at the conclusion of the complaint being false, the Committee shall initiate such disciplinary proceedings as required under the POSH Act or such other action as DC deems fit.
- The Employer should act upon the recommendation of IC, as the case may be within 60 (sixty) days from its receipt of the report. The Employer shall work with DC to act on the recommendation.
XI. Rights and expectations of the Complainant/Respondent:
- Non-retaliation: Retaliation of any sort against the Complainant/Respondent/other parties involved in the alleged harassment, or those consulted during the investigation will not be tolerated.
- Opportunity to respond: A person against whom a complaint has been made shall be treated fairly, informed of the applicable procedures, given notice of the allegations against him/her, and have adequate opportunity to respond.
- Accompanying colleague: A non-legal person from the organization may accompany the Complainant/Respondent, if he/she so wishes to prosecute/defend the proceedings.
- Confidentiality: Complaints of sexual harassment shall be handled confidentially, including keeping the identity of the Complainant, Respondent and witnesses confidential, and the facts made available only to the IC and DC. The witnesses may receive certain information of the facts during the course of investigation, and the witnesses shall be bound by the obligations of confidentiality and shall in no event disclose any details of the matters, names of the Respondent and Complainant to others or to media. The Complainant and the Respondent shall not disclose the identity of each other to the persons outside of the IC or DC or anyone in media. If any of the witnesses or the others are found guilty of such disclosure, YRF, DC or IC as the case may be can take such actions as it seems reasonable including termination of the employment or contract, as the case may be. The objective of keeping the proceedings confidential is to encourage sexually harassed survivors to come forward, without fear or hesitation, and lodge their complaints with IC or DC (as the case may be).