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10 Apr 2015

Fabindia voyeurism case: a wake-up call to all organizations

The recent incident at Fabindia Goa as reported in the media has again brought into focus the need to sensitize employees of all organizations about their responsibility to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace. “Voyeurism” was not classified as a penal offence till an amendment in 2013 brought it within the ambit of criminal laws, with a minimum punishment of one year imprisonment (which may extend to three years). The incident even compelled the MD and CEO of Fabindia to obtain anticipatory bail.

Had the employees been sensitized and made aware of the perils and dangers of acts of sexual harassment against women, probably this incident may not have happened. Alarmed by the rising cases reported on sexual harassment of women and that 90% of the organizations have not implemented the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act and Rules, 2013, the government has issued stern warning to all organizations to speedily implement the laws. Failure to do so could result in the organization losing its licences to carry out business. This is too grave a risk to be taken by any business; compliance with laws should be expedited.

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