Frequently Asked Questions

 
What is sexual harassment at workplace?       Top

Harassment means any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature or sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidating hostile, or offensive work environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for refusal to comply to such a request or is made a condition for employment. 

 
   
Who is a complainant? Top
Complainant means a woman or man who has made a complaint to the (Ombudsperson) or to the Inquiry Committee on being aggrieved by an act of harassment. Employee means a regular or contractual employee whether employed on daily, weekly, monthly or hourly basis and includes an intern or apprentice.   
   
What is jurisdiction of the provincial Ombudsperson? Top
Sexual harassment at workplace faced by an employee anywhere in the Punjab falls within the purview of provincial Ombudsperson.   
   
Which Organizations fall in the preview of provincial Ombudsperson? Top
“Organization” means a Federal or Provincial Government Ministry, Division or department, a corporation or any autonomous or semiautonomous body, Educational Institutes, Medical facilities established or controlled by the Federal or Provincial Government or District Government or registered civil society associations or privately managed a commercial or an industrial establishment or institution, a company as defined in the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (XLVII of 1984) and includes any other registered private sector organization or institution.  
   
Is decision of provincial Ombudsperson challengeable? Top
Yes, any person aggrieved by a decision of the Ombudsperson may file an appeal to the Governor Punjab.  
   
What is procedure of the appeal? Top
Any party (complainant or accused) can file an appeal to the Governor Punjab within 30 days of the communication of the decision. Appellate Authority may alter, confirm, or set-aside the decision and inform the parties. Decision of the Governor shall be final.  
   
Are proceedings in the office of Ombudsperson confidential? Top
Yes, the whole proceedings which include complaint, statements of witnesses, inquiry and evidence are kept confidential.   
   
Is attendance on every date of proceedings necessary?  Top
Yes, during the hearing proceedings, complainant’s attendance and presence is necessary. However, documents and decisions can be communicated by post therefore, for this purpose attendance is not required.  
   
What should a complainant do in case retaliation is apprehended from the accused?   Top
The complainant may submit an application alongwith the main application for adjustment/transfer/suspension of the accused which is sent to the department concerned, as per the law.  
   
Can a complaint lodge applications simultaneously to other forum when complain I under process in provincial Ombudsperson’s office? Top
No, the complaints are processed when no application/inquiry is under process/pending/filed on the same subject /charges at any other forum.  
   
Can relatives/friends accompany the complainant? Top
Yes. Colleagues can also accompany.  
   
Can a complaint be filed if there are no eye witness(es)?  Top
Yes.  
   
Will the complaint be filed if the complainant does not pursue the case/ proceedings?  Top
Yes, the complaint shall be filed in case the complainant does not pursue the case in Ombudsperson’s office.  
   
Where can a complaint be lodged at any forum other than Ombudsperson office? Top
A complaint can be filed to the Inquiry Committee which is established/ constituted by the organization.  
   
Is it necessary to notify/constitute inquiry committee at organization/departmental level? Top
Yes, under “The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010” all government, semi government, registered non-government organizations, hospitals, colleges, universities, factories are required to constitutes and notify Inquiry Committees with at least one female member, and to notify the Competent Authority for this purpose. Besides, Code of Conduct is required to be displayed at a conspicuous place in the organization (in English and other language understandable by employees).   
   
If any organization/department does not constitute an Inquiry Committee, what action can be taken against that organization/department?   Top

Under “The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010” all government, semi government departments, registered non-government, organizations, hospitals, colleges, universities, factories are required to constitutes and notify Inquiry Committees with at least one female member and to notify the Competent Authority for this purpose. Besides, Code of Conduct is required to be displayed at a conspicuous place (in English and other language understandable by employees). If any department/organization fails to comply with this, then a written complaint can be filed to the Ombudsperson under section 11 of the Act ibid and the employer can be fined up to one lac rupees.

 
   
Who are members of the inquiry committee? Top
The Inquiry Committee constituted under this Act must have three members with at least one female, and this Inquiry Committee has to be notified. Any employee affected by sexual harassment can file a complaint to this Inquiry Committee or can come directly to the Ombudsperson.  
   
Is decision of Inquiry Committee challengeable? Top
Yes, decision can be challenged by filing an appeal to the provincial Ombudsperson.  
   
What are main postulates of a “complaint”? Top

 A complaint must include:-

  • Complainant’s name, designation, name of department/ organization, phone number, accused’s names, address and phone number.
  • Witnesses (if any) their names/designation, address.
  • Details of the incident (date wise in chronological order).
  • Audio/video evidence or text messages (if any)
  • Verification statement on oath that all information are correct to the best of knowledge of the complainant.
  • A sample application has been provided at the end
 
   
Who is an accused? Top

“Accused” means an employee or employer of an organization against whom a complaint has been made under this Act;

  • “Employee” means a regular or contractual employee whether employed on daily, weekly, monthly or hourly basis, and includes an intern or an apprentice;
  • “Employer” in relation to an organization, means any person or body of persons whether incorporated or not, who or which employs workers in an organization under a contract of employment or in any other manner whosoever and includes:-
    • an heir, successor or assign, as the case may be, of such person or, body as aforesaid;
    • any person responsible for the direction, administration, management and control of the management;
    • the authority, in relation to an organization or group of organizations run by or under the authority of the Government, the Federal Government or any other Provincial Government, appointed in this behalf or, where no such authority is appointed, the head of the organization or group of organizations;
    • the office bearer, in relation to an organization run by or on behalf of the local authority, appointed, the chief executive officer bearer of that authority;
    • the proprietor, in relation to any other organization, of such organization and every director, manager, secretary, agent or office bearer of person concerned with the management of the affairs there of;
    • a contractor or an organization of a contractor who or which undertakes to procure the labour or services of employees for use by another person or in another organization for any purpose what so ever and for payment in any form and on any basis what so ever, and
    • office bearers of a Federal or a Provincial or local authority who belong to the managerial, secretarial or directional cadre or categories of supervisors or agents and those who have been notified for this purpose in the official Gazette.