This policy has been framed in accordance with the provisions of “The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013” hereinafter referred to as “the Act” and rules framed thereunder.
The ‘Policy on Prevention of Sexual Harassment of women at workplace: These guidelines framed for the employees of Lulu International Shopping Malls Private Limited’ intends to ensure the dignity of each and every employee and to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and the redressal of complaints, if any, of sexual harassment and matters related to it. The management is committed to ensure its work place totally free from any form of sexual harassment and is dedicated to promptly addressing and remedying such harassments, if any, occurred. This policy applies to all employees.
It is specifically provided that the provisions contained in the Act shall prevail wherever there is any conflict with this policy or where there is any doubt or clarification required on any aspect of the policy.
1.1 “Sexual Harassment” includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication):
a) Any unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, or pattern of conduct, that would cause discomfort and/or humiliate a person at whom the behaviour or conduct was directed namely:
i. Physical contact and advances;
ii. Demand or request for sexual favours;
iii. Sexually coloured remarks or remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body;
iv. Showing pornography,
v. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature
b) The following incidences also if it occurs or is present in relation to any sexually determined act or behaviour will amount to sexual harassment:
i. Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment;
ii. Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment;
iii. Implied or explicit threat about the present or future employment status;
iv. Interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her; or
v. Humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.
1.2. Aggrieved woman: In relation to a workplace, a woman, of any age, whether employed or not, who alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment by the respondent.
1.3. Respondent: A person against whom a complaint of sexual harassment has been made by the aggrieved woman.
1.4. Employee: A person employed at the workplace, for any work on regular, temporary, ad-hoc or daily wage basis, either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, with or without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes not limited to a co-worker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or by any other such name.
1.5. Workplace: In addition to the place of work [Head office / Branch offices, Factories] it shall also include any place where the aggrieved woman or the respondent visits in connection with his/her work, during the course of and/or arising out of employment/ contract/ engagement with Lulu International Shopping Malls Private Limited, including transportation provided for undertaking such a journey.
1.6. Employer: In relation to any department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit, the head of the department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit; in any workplace not covered under above, a person responsible for management, supervision and control of the workplace.
2.1 It is the responsibility of the HR In-charge of each establishment/workplace –
a) To provide a safe working environment for women employee at the workplace which shall include safety from the persons coming into contact with them at the workplace.
b) To display at any conspicuous place in the work place the penal consequences of sexual harassments and the order in writing, constituting a committee to be known as “Internal Complaints Committee”.
c) Organize workshops and awareness programs at regular intervals for sensitising the employees and orientation programs for the members of the internal committee. Carryout orientation programs and seminars for the members of the internal committee. Carryout employees awareness programs and create forum for dialogues and to educate employees the provisions of the Act and Rules. Declare the names and contact details of all the members of the Internal Committee.
d) Provide necessary facilities to the Internal Committee for dealing with the complaint and for conducting an inquiry.
e) Assist in securing the attendance of the Respondent and witnesses before the Internal Committee.
f) Make available such information to the Internal Committee as it may require having regard to the complaint.
g) Provide assistant to the woman if she chooses to file a complaint in relation to the offence under Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or any other law for the time being in force.
h) Cause to initiate action under Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ) or any other law for the time being in force, against the perpetrator, or if the aggrieved woman so desires, where the perpetrator is not an employee, in the workplace at which the incident of sexual harassment took place.
i) Treat sexual harassment as a misconduct and initiate action for such misconduct.
j) Monitor the timely submission of reports by the Internal Committee.
2.2. Responsibilities of Individual: It is the responsibility of all to respect the rights of others and to never encourage harassment. It can be done by:
a. Refusing to involve in any activity which constitutes harassment
b. Supporting the person to reject any unwelcome behaviour
c. Acting as a witness in the proceedings against any sexual harassment, if he had actually witnessed such harassments. if the person being harassed decides to lodge a complaint
2.3 Responsibilities of Managers: All managers at Lulu International Shopping Malls Private Limited must ensure that nobody is subject to harassment and there is fair treatment. They must also ensure that all employees understand that harassment in any form will not be tolerated; that complaints if any will be taken seriously; and that the complainants, or witnesses are not victimized in any way.
In compliance with the Act, if the complainant warrants formal intervention, the complainant needs to lodge a written complaint, which shall be followed by a formal redressal mechanism as described in this Policy. In case of a verbal complaint, the complaint will be reduced in writing by the receiver of the complaint and signatures of the complainant will be obtained.
To prevent instances of sexual harassment and to receive and effectively deal with complaints pertaining to the same, an “Internal Complaints Committee” is constituted at each location. The details of the committee to be notified to all persons concerned by displaying it at a conspicuous place the location (workplace).
The committee at each location to be comprised of:
• Presiding Officer: A woman employed at a senior level in the organization or workplace.
• At least 2 members from amongst employees, committed to the cause of women and or having legal knowledge.
• One external member, familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment.
• At least one half of the total members is women.
The committee is responsible for:
• Receiving complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace
• Initiating and conducting inquiry as per the established procedure
• Submitting findings of inquiries and recommendations of the committee.
• Co-ordinating with the employer in implementing appropriate action
• Maintaining strict confidentiality throughout the process as per established guidelines
• Submitting annual reports in the prescribed format
Current nominated members of the committees are given in Annexure A.
a. Incidents, if any, of harassments – Not to discourage lodging complaint : Employees to be encouraged to report any incidents of sexual harassment promptly. They may report the incident to any member of the committee or to their immediate supervisor, HR department, or any other designated individual.
b. Multiple Reporting Channels: The company will provide multiple channels for reporting, ensuring confidentiality to the extent possible.
c. No Retaliation: The company is committed to ensure that no retaliation actions takes place against anyone who reports an incident of sexual harassment in good faith.
d. The complainant needs to submit a detailed complaint, along with supporting documentary evidence, if any, available or names of witnesses, to any of the committee members at the workplace or to the email ids of the committee members.
The complaint must be lodged within 3 months from the date of incident/ last incident. The Committee can extend the timeline by another 3 months for reasons recorded in writing, if satisfied that those reasons prevented the complainant from lodging of the complaint on time.
Provided that where such a complaint cannot be made in writing, the Presiding Officer or any Member of the Internal Complaint Committee shall render all reasonable assistance to the women for making the complaint in writing.
If the aggrieved woman is unable to lodge the complaint on account of her incapacity, the following may do so on her behalf, with her written consent:
– Legal heir, relative or friend
– Any person having the knowledge of the incident
If the initial complaint is made to a person other than a committee member, upon receiving such a complaint, it will be the responsibility of such person who received the complaint receiver to report the same to the committee immediately.
Wherever possible Lulu will ensure that all the complaints of harassment are dealt with speedily, discreetly and as close as possible to the point of origin.
Dealing with incidents of harassment is not like any other type of dispute. Complainants may be embarrassed and distressed and hence they are to be treated compassionately and inspiring confidence to them while receiving the complaint.
The following points are to be kept in mind by the receiver of the complaint:
– Complainants are listened to and they are convinced that the Company takes their concerns seriously.
Complainant is informed that her concerns would be reported to the appropriate committee and follow up actions will be done speedily. All assistance will be given to the complainant, if she so desires, for the preparation of complaint.
Once the complaint is received, before initiating the inquiry, the committee may initiate steps to conciliate the complaint between the complainant and the respondent. This is only if requested by the aggrieved woman.
It is to be made clear to all parties that conciliation in itself doesn’t necessarily mean acceptance of complaint by the respondent. It is a practical mechanism through which issues are resolved or misunderstandings, if any are cleared.
In case a settlement is arrived at, the committee records it & reports the same to the employer for taking appropriate action.
Provided that no monetary settlement shall be made as a basis of conciliation.
The committee to provide copies of the settlement to both complainant & respondent. Once an agreement is arrived between the parties, no further inquiry is conducted.
Provided that where the aggrieved woman informs the Internal committee, that any term or condition of the settlement arrived at has not been complied with by the respondent, the Internal Committee shall proceed to make an inquiry into the compliant.
The committee initiates inquiry in the following cases:
• No conciliation is requested by the aggrieved woman
• Conciliation has not resulted in any settlement.
• Complainant informs the committee that any term or condition of the settlement arrived at through conciliation, has not been complied with by respondent.
The Committee to proceed to conduct an inquiry into the complaint within a period of one week of its receipt of the original complaint/closure of conciliation/repeat complaint.
• Complainant should submit the complaint along with supporting documents and the names of the witnesses.
• Upon receipt of the complaint, one copy of the same to be sent by the committee to the respondent within 7 working days.
• Respondent is to reply with all supporting documents within 10 working days of receiving the copy of the complaint.
• No legal practitioner can represent any party at any stage of the inquiry proceedings.
• The Complaints Committee to make inquiry into the complaint in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
• While conducting the inquiry, a minimum of three committee members including the Presiding Officer is to be present.
During pendency of the inquiry, on a written request made by the aggrieved woman, the committee may recommend to the employer to –
• Transfer the aggrieved woman or the respondent to any other workplace.
• Grant leave to the aggrieved woman upto three months, in addition to the leave she would be otherwise entitled.
• Prevent the respondent from assessing complainant’s work performance.
• Grant such other relief to the aggrieved woman as deems fit in the interest of justice and equity.
Once the recommendations of interim relief are implemented, the employer will inform the committee regarding the same.
Committee at Lulu International Shopping Malls Private Limited may terminate the inquiry or give ex-parte decision, if complainant or respondent absent for three consecutive hearings, without any valid reason. 15 day’s written notice to be served on the party who has absented from the proceedings, before termination or passing an ex-parte order.
All proceedings of the inquiry are to be documented. The Committee has to interview the complainant and the respondent impartially.
Committee, if found necessary, should explain to the respondent exactly what the allegation is against him and who has made the allegation. The respondent to be given full opportunity to defend his contentions with oral and documentary evidence. Detailed notes of the meetings are to be prepared and that may be shared with the respondent and complainant upon request. Any witnesses produced by the complainant and respondent are also to be interviewed & statements are taken from them.
If the complainant or respondent desires to cross examine any witnesses, the Committee has to facilitate the same and records the statements.
All such inquiries are to be completed, including the submission of the Inquiry Report, within 90 days from the date on which the inquiry is commenced. The inquiry procedure should ensure absolute fairness to all parties.
Post the inquiry the committee submits its report containing its findings and recommendations to the employer, within 10 days of completion of the inquiry.
If the situation so requires, or upon request of the complainant, the Management at Lulu International Shopping Malls Private Limited may consider interim measures such as transfer, changing of shift, grant of leave etc to her so as to protect her against victimization or distress during or subsequent to the course of inquiry.
Where the committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has not been proved, it recommends to the employer that no action is required to be taken on the complaint.
Further, the committee ensures that both parties understand that the matter has been fully investigated, that the inquiry is now concluded and neither will be disadvantaged within the company.
Where the committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has been proved, it recommends to the employer to take appropriate actions for sexual harassment as misconduct, and recommend:
ii. Censure or reprimand
iii. Apology to be tendered by respondent
iv. Written warning
v. To deduct from the salary or wages of the Respondent such sum as it may consider appropriate to be paid to the aggrieved woman or to her legal heirs as the case may be.
vi. Withholding promotion and/or increments
Determination of Compensation – for the purpose of determining the sums to be paid to the aggrieved woman, as per (v) above the committee shall have regard to the following-
a) The mental trauma, pain, suffering and emotional distress caused to the aggrieved woman.
b) The loss in the career opportunity due to the incident of sexual harassment.
c) Medical expenses incurred by the victim for physical or psychiatric treatment.
d) The income and financial status of the Respondent.
e) Feasibility of such payment in lumpsum or in instalment.
The management at Lulu International Shopping Malls Private Limited acts upon the recommendations within 60 days and inform the committee.
Post implementation of the actions – Follow up with the complainant to ascertain whether the misbehaviour of the respondent has in fact stopped, the solution is working satisfactorily and if no victimization of either party is occurring. This follow up is undertaken by the complainant’s Line Manager supported by Manager, Human Resources.
Where the committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent is malicious or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has made the complaint knowing it to be false or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend to the employer to take action against the woman or the person who made the complaint.
While deciding malicious intent, the committee should consider that mere inability to substantiate a complaint need not mean malicious intent. Malicious intent must be clearly established through a separate inquiry.
Where the internal committee arrives at a conclusion that the allegation against the Respondent is malicious or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has made the complaint knowing it to be false or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend to the employer to take appropriate action against the woman or the person who has made the complaint.
The identity of the complainant, respondent, witnesses, statements and other evidence obtained during the course of inquiry process, recommendations of the committees, action taken by the employer are all to be considered as confidential materials, and not published or made known to public or media.
Any person contravening the confidentiality clauses is subject to disciplinary action as prescribed in the Act.
Any party not satisfied or further aggrieved by the implementation or non-implementation of recommendations made, may appeal to the appellate authority in accordance with the Act and rules, within 90 days of the recommendations being communicated.
19. Committee to submit Annual report:
a) The internal committee shall in each calendar year prepare in such time as may be prescribed an annual report and submit the same to the management.
b) The management shall include in its report the number of cases filed if any and their disposal in the annual report of the organisation.