Understanding Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)

1. Overview

2. What constitutes Sexual Harassment
  2.1 Types of Sexual Harassment
    2.1.1 Non- Verbal
    2.1.2 Verbal
    2.1.3 Physical
  2.2 Prevention Action

3. Procedures in Place
  3.1 Complaint Procedures
  3.2 Enquiry Method
  3.3 Disciplinary Action

4. Action in case of False Allegations

5. Confidentiality

1. Overview

Sauhard believes that there is certainly a need to give young people grounding values of social justice, pluralism and secularism through democratic dialogue even as they youthfully explore religion, culture and their multiple identities. Given a right platform and opportunities, the energy of the young people can be channelized for constructive activities to promote the spirit of Peace.

With the intention to provide a safe and friendly environment to all at Sauhard, we have constituted a framework of procedures that ensures the prevention of sexual harassment at workplace. The procedure complies with the basic idea of natural righteousness of all gender.

The policy is applicable to all the Fellows, Interns, Facilitators, and the Board Members of the organization, where the work hierarchy is no bar.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work.

At sauhard, Equality for All stands for Human Rights which “are rights to all human being” regardless to the Caste, Color, Gender, etc.
The Document will be applicable to all Gender working at Sauhard.

Sexual harassment results in violation of the fundamental rights of a person to equality which includes a right to a safe environment free from sexual harassment
The act makes it obligatory to structure a Complaint Committee to deal with incidents of sexual harassment.

2. What constitutes Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sensual activity as a condition of that person’s employment, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient. Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal and non-verbal.

    2.1 Types of Sexual Harassment

      2.1.1 Non-Verbal

     1.   Gestures
     2.   Staring / leering
     3.   Invading personal space
     4.    Pin-ups
     5.    Offensive publications
     6.    Offensive letters / memos
     7.    Unsolicited and unwanted gifts
     8.    Use for social media for emotional and physical harassment
     9.    Taking photos/videos/audios without the subjects consent.

      2.1.2 Verbal

     1.    Language of a suggestive or explicit nature
     2.    Unwanted propositions
     3.    Blackmail
     4.   Jokes of a sexual or explicit nature
     5.   Use of “affectionate names”
     6.   Questions or comments of derogatory nature

      2.1.3 Physical

     1.    Unwelcomed body contact against consent
     2.   Exhibitionism
     3.   Groping / fondling / kissing
     4.   Coerced sexual contact

Any associate of sauhard can be a victim to sexual harassment, irrespective of their sex or position.

All sorts of Sexual Harassment acts are forbidden whether it takes place in premises or at activities conducted by Sauhard outside, between sauhard associates.

    2.2 Prevention Action

Sauhard will take all reasonable steps to ensure prevention of sexual harassment at work. Such steps shall include:

1.  Circulation of Sauhard Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy in English/Hindi/Gujarati to all the interns and fellows at the organization.

2.  Monthly meetings and workshops

3.  In-house training sessions for addressing complaints in different formats, including form filling and verbal complaints to the staff and the ICC members

4.  Guidelines will be clearly stated inside the premises in the form of posters and wall posts.

5.  Make Posters and other materials detailing what harassment is and disseminate the same.

3. Procedures in place

    3.1 Complaint Procedure

If an individual believes that they are the victim of sexual harassment or retaliation, they are encouraged to report such complaint immediately. Sauhard has designated the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to receive all complaints, verbal or written, of harassment on behalf of the organization.

1.  The complainant can submit a written complaint letter to the ICC, stating what happened with details regarding the dates, names of the accused, proof (if any), etc.

2.  The complainant can write a complaint email letter, to the respective ICC members.

3.  The complainant can ask an informal meeting with the members of ICC.

4.  In cases of emergencies, the person believing to be harassed can call/text/email the ICC member, at the moment, in order to prevent any further engagements taking place.

Within 1 week of receipt of the complaint, the Chairperson shall communicate the same to all the members of ICC.

Within 10 days of receipt, respondent will file their reply on the complaint.

The complainant must file the complaint of sexual harassment within three months of the incident. The period can be subjected to extension, in extreme circumstances that might have backed the complainant from filing the complaint.

    3.2 Enquiry Method

1.  On receiving a formal complaint, the ICC shall ask the complainant to prepare a detailed testimonial of the incidents, in a specific format or someone will be assigned to help with the same.

2.  The accused will be probed to prepare a reply to the statement of allegations, if required.

3.  ICC will organize verbal sessions with the complainant and accuse together if required and individually. And can ask both the parties for written compliance. These sessions must be recorded, with both parties consent.

4.  The statement of the complainant will be recorded in front of ICC. Accuse may cross question the complainant if there is a need to do so only in the presence of the Committee members.

5.  ICC will take testimonies of other related persons and examine the evidence whenever necessary.

6.  The Committee will take its decision after carefully reviewing the circumstances.

7.  The enquiry shall be conducted in Gujarati/Hindi/English.

8.  Enquiry will be completed in maximum 90 days. If ICC feels more time is needed, they can take decision of extending the tenure of enquiry.

    3.3 Disciplinary Action

All the members of ICC must be informed and discuss the case firstly, by meeting/ email or call.
If the committee considers conducting an inquiry session, the complainant and the accused, both should be present. Non-presence can be subjected to penalties/fines.
The person conducting the investigation can:
1.  Interview the complainant and the accused both at the same time, or separately.

2.  The committee can also cross examine the third party, in the stage of further inquiry, and the statement must be recorded, plus record giving of consent recording too.
The committee must conclude whether, the incident(s) of sexual harassment took place or not.

If the incident took place, further actions must be taken:
  1.  The accused shall pronounce they are guilty, or the victim/committee must prove the accused guilty by providing adequate documents in the form of pictures, voice recording, etc.

  2.  The ICC must decide upon an appropriate penalty for the accused, considering the degree of inappropriateness/action taken place during the incident:

   a)   Warning
   b)   Written Apology
   c)   Suspension (designated time period)
   d)   Expulsion

  3.  The Committee must ensure that appropriate actions are taken upon the accused within 90 days from the filled complaint.

  4.  If the committee believes that the case should be reported to the police, the same must be carried forward.

4. Action in case of False Allegations

Punishment for false or malicious complaint and false evidence

1.    Where the Committee arrives at a conclusion that the allegation against the respondent is false or malicious or the aggrieved members of Sauhard or any other person making the complaint has produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend to the Director to take action against the person who has made the complaint in accordance with the provisions of the service Guide lines have been made, in such manner as may be prescribed.

2.     Where the Committee arrives at a conclusion that during the enquiry any witness has given false evidence or produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend the witness to take action in accordance with the provisions of the guide lines are applicable to the said witness or where no such rules have been made, in such manner as may be prescribed.

5. Confidentiality

1.   Notwithstanding anything contained in the Right to Information Act, 2005, the contents of the complaint made under section 9, the identity and addresses of the aggrieved associates of sauhard, respondent and witnesses, any information relating to conciliation and enquiry proceedings, recommendations of the Committee, and the action taken by the associates under the provisions of this Policy shall not be published, communicated or made known to the public, press and media in any manner:

Provided that information may be disseminated regarding the justice secured to any victim of sexual harassment under this Policy without disclosing the identity and address of the aggrieved associate, respondent and witnesses.

2.   Where any person entrusted with the duty to handle or deal with the complaint, enquiry or any recommendations or action to be taken under the provisions of this Policy contravenes the provisions, they shall be liable for penalty in accordance with the provisions of the guide lines applicable to the said person or where no such guide lines have been made, in such manner as may be prescribed.

Sauhard will make sure that the policy is correctly implemented to all relevant persons.
All fellows/interns/members should be made aware of this policy every year, in the beginning of the new session, in case of any amendments.
Sauhard recognizes the significance of monitoring this sexual harassment policy and will ensure that justice is made to one and all.
Policy can be subjected to changes, in accordance to the flexibility of the earlier policy; improvisation must only take place when two third of the ICC agrees to do or so.

Head
Internal Complaint Committee,
Sauhard

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