ANTI-SEXUAL HARRASMENT POLICY
NA Group of Institution Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy
1. N.A. Group of Institutions operates on a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment in the workplace, treats all incidents seriously and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment.
2. Any person found to have sexually harassed another will face disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment.
3. All complaints of sexual harassment will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be victimised for making such a complaint.
Definition of 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 sexual 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. Examples of conduct or behaviour which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
• Physical conduct
• Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling, or inappropriate touching
• Physical violence, including sexual assault
• Physical contact, e.g., touching, pinching
• The use of job-related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favours
• Verbal conduct
1 Comments on a worker’s appearance, age, private life, etc.
2 Sexual comments, stories and jokes
3 Sexual advances
4 Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
5 Insults based on the sex of the worker
6 Condescending or paternalistic remarks
7 Sending sexually explicit messages (by phone or by email)
• Non-verbal conduct
1 Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material
2 Sexually-suggestive gestures
[Explanatory note: This section defines sexual harassment. If examples are included, it is important to note that they are not exhaustive and that sexual harassment can include any conduct of a sexual nature which is unwanted and unwelcome by the recipient.]
Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of their sex and of the sex of the harasser. N. A. Group of Institutions recognises that sexual harassment may also occur between people of the same sex. What matters is that the sexual conduct is unwanted and unwelcome by the person against whom the conduct is directed.
[Explanatory note: This recognises that men and women can be victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.]
N. A. Group of Institutions recognises that sexual harassment is a manifestation of power relationships and often occurs within unequal relationships in the workplace, for example between employer and employee. Anyone, including employees, employers, management or visitors who sexually harasses another will be reprimanded in accordance with this internal policy. Although it can be difficult for the Institution to deal with sexual harassment when it is perpetrated by third parties, it is nonetheless responsible for the well-being of its faculties if the harassment occurs during work. All sexual harassment is prohibited whether it takes place within the premises or outside, including at social events, training sessions, seminars, moot courts, fests, symposium or conferences organised by the Institution.
[Explanatory note: This is to recognise that harassment can take place both within the premises, and also at social events where there are more chances of exposure.
Although complaints of sexual harassment can be dealt with through the normal company complaints procedure, N. A. Group of Institutions seeks specific complaints procedures to deal with sexual harassment to respond better to the needs of victims and to ensure that investigations are carried out properly.
1. Anyone who is subject to sexual harassment should, if possible, inform the alleged harasser that the conduct is unwanted and unwelcome. N. A. Group of Institutions recognises that sexual harassment may occur in unequal relationships (i.e., between a supervisor and his/her employee) and that it may not be possible for the victim to inform the alleged harasser.
2. If a victim cannot directly approach an alleged harasser, he/she can approach one of the designated staff members responsible for receiving complaints of sexual harassment. This person could be another supervisor, a member of the human resources department, etc.
3. When a designated person receives a complaint of sexual harassment, he/she will:
• Immediately record the dates, times and facts of the incident(s);
• ascertain the views of the victim as to what outcome he/she wants;
• ensure that the victim understands the company’s procedures for dealing with the complaint;
• discuss and agree the next steps: either informal or formal complaint, on the understanding that choosing to resolve the matter informally does not preclude the victim from pursuing a formal complaint if he/she is not satisfied with the outcome;
• keep a confidential record of all discussions;
• respect the choice of the victim;
• ensure that the victim knows that they can lodge the complaint outside of the company through the relevant country/legal framework.
[Explanatory note: It is important to give the victim options for reporting the matter. The Institution understands that the need for options for reporting is very important because having one person only to report to limits the ability of the victim to avail themselves of the complaint procedure.]
• Throughout the complaint procedure, a victim is entitled to be helped by a counsellor within the Institution. N. A. Group of Institutions will nominate a number of counsellors and provide them with special training to enable them to assist victims of sexual harassment. N. A. Group of Institutions recognises that because sexual harassment often occurs in unequal relationships within the workplace, victims often feel that they cannot come forward. N. A. Group of Institutions understands the need to support victims in making complaints.
• Informal complaints mechanism- If the victim wishes to deal with the matter informally, the designated person will:
• give an opportunity to the alleged harasser to respond to the complaint;
• ensure that the alleged harasser understands the complaints mechanism;
• facilitate discussion between both parties to achieve an informal resolution which is acceptable to the complainant, or refer the matter to a designated mediator within the company to resolve the matter;
• ensure that a confidential record is kept of what happens;
• follow up after the outcome of the complaints mechanism to ensure that the behaviour has stopped;
• ensure that the above is done speedily and within 15 days of the complaint being made.
• Formal complaints mechanism- If the victim wants to make a formal complaint or if the informal complaint mechanism has not led to a satisfactory outcome for the victim, the formal complaint mechanism should be used to resolve the matter. The designated person who initially received the complaint will refer the matter to a senior human resources manager to instigate a formal investigation. The senior human resources manager may deal with the matter him/herself, refer the matter to an internal or external investigator or refer it to a committee of three others in accordance with this policy. The person carrying out the investigation will:
• interview the victim and the alleged harasser separately;
• interview other relevant third parties separately;
• decide whether or not the incident(s) of sexual harassment took place;
• produce a report detailing the investigations, findings and any recommendations;
• if the harassment took place, decide what the appropriate remedy for the victim is, in consultation with the victim (i.e.- an apology, a change to working arrangements, a promotion if the victim was demoted as a result of the harassment, training for the harasser, discipline, suspension, dismissal);
• follow up to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, that the behaviour has stopped and that the victim is satisfied with the outcome;
• if it cannot determine that the harassment took place, he/she may still make recommendations to ensure proper functioning of the workplace;
• keep a record of all actions taken;
• ensure that the all records concerning the matter are kept confidential;
• ensure that the process is done as quickly as possible and in any event within 15 days of the complaint being made.
If a committee is created to carry out the investigation, the committee should be set up bearing in mind gender-balance and could include, a representative of the management, an employee representative, etc. The Committee members, just as HR personnel or investigators dealing with sexual harassment, should be trained on understanding and deciding what constitutes sexual harassment, how to investigate it, etc. It is also vital that the wishes and needs of the victim are incorporated into the outcome of the complaint mechanism.
[Explanatory note: This section is intended to inform employees of their rights to use other national mechanisms that may be available to them. Some employees may not feel comfortable bringing a complaint through the disciplinary measures at work and they should be informed of their right to seek redress elsewhere. The internal policy of a company cannot prevent an employee from also using the national mechanisms available to him or her.]
Sanctions and disciplinary measures
Anyone who has been found to have sexually harassed another person under the terms of this policy is liable to any of the following sanctions:
• verbal or written warning
• adverse performance evaluation
• reduction in wages
The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied to ensure that incidents of sexual harassment are not treated as trivial. Certain serious cases, including physical violence, will result in the immediate dismissal of the harasser.
Implementation of this policy
N. A. Group of Institutions will ensure that this policy is widely disseminated to all relevant persons. It will be included in the staff handbook. All new employees must be trained on the content of this policy as part of their induction into the company. Every year, N. A. Group of Institutions will require all employees to attend a refresher training course on the content of this policy. It is the responsibility of every manager to ensure that all his/her employees are aware of the policy.
[Explanatory note: This creates an obligation on the company to ensure that all employees are aware of the policy.]
Monitoring and evaluation
N. A. Group of Institutions recognises the importance of monitoring this sexual harassment policy and will ensure that it anonymously collects statistics and data as to how it is used and whether or not it is effective. Supervisors, managers and those responsible for dealing with sexual harassment cases will report on compliance with this policy, including the number of incidents, how they were dealt with, and any recommendations made. This will be done on a yearly basis. As a result of this report, the Institution will evaluate the effectiveness of this policy and make any changes needed.
[Explanatory note: Monitoring and evaluation can be done through different means, including questionnaires completed by employees, feedback from victims or those who work in the complaint procedure. This is important to review the effectiveness of the policy and the complaint procedure.]