Protection of Confidentiality for Complaints of Sexual Harassment

Securing the secrecy of people who make complaints of sexual harassment is vital in guaranteeing that they feel secure and bolstered in coming forward with their encounters.

Keeping sexual harassment complaints confidential | Pursuit by The  University of Melbourne

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (the “Act”) is the primary legislation governing sexual harassment in India. The Act mandates that all employers with more than 10 employees establish an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to investigate complaints of sexual harassment. The ICC is required to maintain confidentiality throughout the investigation process.

In addition, the Act also provides for the protection of the identity of the complainant and the accused. The Act prohibits the publication of any information that could reveal the identity of the complainant or the accused. This includes any information that could be used to identify the complainant or the accused, such as their name, photograph, or any other identifying information.

Furthermore, the Indian Penal Code also provides for the protection of the identity of victims of sexual harassment. Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code makes it a punishable offense to disclose the identity of a victim of certain offenses, including sexual harassment.

Here are a few ways to secure confidentiality:

  • Keep the complaint and examination confidential.
  • Use non-disclosure agreements.
  • Conduct interviews in private.
  • Protect electronic communications.
  • Provide assets for support.

Overall, securing the privacy of people who make complaints of sexual harassment is vital in making a secure and strong environment for all workers. By taking steps to ensure privacy, organizations can guarantee that people feel enabled to come forward with their encounters without fear of countering or other negative consequences.

There have been a few cases related to the assurance of privacy for complaints of sexual harassment. Here are several examples:

  1. Maharashtra – Madhukar Narayan Mardikar (1991): In this case, the 

Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy is a fundamental right enshrined in the Indian Constitution. The Court noted that the right to 

       privacy includes privacy and that personal information should only be

       disclosed when necessary for the public interest.

  • Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan (1997): This case laid down the guidelines for preventing sexual harassment of women at the workplace, which included the provision for the establishment of Internal Complaints Committees (ICC) to receive and address complaints of sexual harassment. The guidelines also mandated that the identity of the complainant and respondent should be kept confidential during the proceedings.
  • Association of Women Lawyers v. Karnataka State (2003): In this case, the Karnataka High Court said that the sexual harassment victim should be detained. The court noted that the right to privacy includes the right to privacy and that disclosing the identity of the victim could lead to     further torture and harassment.
  • Dr. Rina Mukherjee v. State of UP (2014): In this case, the Allahabad High Court held that the identity of a victim of sexual harassment should be kept confidential and should not be disclosed in any official communication or proceedings without the victim’s consent. The court observed that the disclosure of the victim’s identity can have serious consequences, including social ostracization and psychological trauma.
  • Fox News and Gretchen Carlson: In 2016, previous Fox News grapple Gretchen Carlson recorded a sexual harassment claim against the network’s CEO, Roger Ailes. As portion of the claim, Carlson charged that Ailes had countered against her after she denied his sexual progresses. Amid the examination, it was found that other ladies at the organize had too experienced sexual harassment from Ailes. Many of these ladies had dreaded coming forward due to concerns almost striking back and the adverse effect on their careers.
  • Uber and Susan Fowler: In 2017, previous Uber design Susan Fowler composed a web journal post in which she claimed encountering sexual harassment and segregation while she was working at the company. Taking after Fowler’s post, other ladies came forward with similar stories. The occurrence driven to an examination by Uber, which brought about the termination of over 20 employees.
  • Hollywood and the #MeToo development: The #MeToo development, which picked up force in 2017, was started by affirmations of sexual harassment and ambush against Hollywood maker Harvey Weinstein. As more ladies came forward with their own stories of harassment and attack, the development brought consideration to the issue of sexual harassment and the significance of ensuring the privacy of those who come forward.

In all these cases, ensuring the secrecy of people who made complaints of sexual harassment and badgering were vital in empowering them to come forward and talk out around their encounters. It too highlighted the significance of making a secure and safe working environment for employees to report episodes of sexual harassment, and the requirement for organizations to examine such charges genuinely.