HC calls for safe working environment for women

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said that given the rapidly increasing number of working women, companies must provide a safe work environment for them, and organise awareness programmes and workshops.

A division bench of Justices V. M. Kanade and Swapna Joshi was hearing a petition filed by a female employee of a semi-government body, seeking stricter punishment against her senior for sexually harassing her in the workplace between 2011 and 2013.

The court, however, refused to interfere with the decision of the company’s internal committee, and went on to say that all employers should provide a safe work environment for women. The bench added that organisations should come up with do’s and don’ts, which should be followed by male employees.

It went on to say companies should organise workshops and awareness programmes, where women should be informed of their rights, while men should be made aware of the consequences of sexual harassment.

Referred to a judgement of a U.S. court, the court said sexual misconduct cannot be viewed in isolation, and that all employers must understand the underlying threat of violence in such conduct against women. The court urged organisations to change with the times and deal with any misconduct against women employees sternly.