Mental Harassment at workplace
There are various categories that can be covered under the purview of harassment at workplace against the employees due to which the employees have to suffer humiliation & Mental Torture and are often exploited by their respective supervisors.
These are the key area of focus in this article. So far there are only some State laws which deal with bullying, however, there have been a persistent call for framing national law on bullying.
The most vulnerable to this plight are the subordinates in offices. This is a scenario in private as well as public sector. Most of the bullying is done by seniors, hierarchy plays a key role. To achieve targets supervisors have to force the employees to labor hard especially the young workers have to face most of the harassment due to higher expectations. Bullying and harassment at workplace lead to terrible effect on the health and well being and performance of the employees. In India, there is no special legislation against bullying at workplace.
Non- Sexual Harassment– Majority of the people believe in the common notion that harassment at workplace can be sexual only. But this is not the case in reality as the following different types can be categorized under types of Non-Sexual Harassment.
- Harassment on the basis of- Race, Sex, Religion and National Origin.
- Harassment on the basis of age.
- Harassment on the basis of disability.
- Defamation- To defame is to damage the reputation or image of the person
- Criminal History- An employee may be harassed for his previous criminal record, whose penalty he has already suffered.
- Citizenship Status- A person belonging to a different nationality may become subject to harassment.
- Racial Harassment- Discrimination on the basis of race.
- Harassment due to different Political Beliefs- Though minor issue but can lead to harassment of the employee by the employer or fellow employees.
- Sexual Orientation and Marital Status.
Examples include leaving repeated or alarming messages on voice mail or e-mail, following people home, or approaching co-workers to ask for personal information.
- Hostile Workplace Harassment.
- Bullying by the supervisor.
Laws against harassment
Indian labour laws cover a large number of acts under its purview and since labour laws are covered under the concurrent list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, so both central and state governments have jurisdiction to pass their own laws on relations between the labourers and relating to issues of the employment.
HARASSMENT BY DEDUCTION OF UNREASONABLE WAGES BY EMPLOYER
Payment of Wages Act, 1936 is intended to be a remedy against the unreasonable and unauthorized deductions made by the ‘Employer’ or unjustified delay in payment of wages.
Section 5 of the Act specifies the Time of payment of wages- Timely payment of wages should be made. If manpower is less than 1000, then 7th day of the month and if more than 1000, then 10th day of the month.
Section 7-13 defines the Deductions- No unreasonable and unauthorized deductions should be made from the wages.
HARASSMENT BY SEX DISCRIMINATION
Employees can be harassed by not following the Principle of Equal Pay for Equal Work. According to Article 39(d) of the Constitution and Section 2(h) of the Equal Remuneration Act 1976 it is the duty of the employer that every employee should receive same remuneration for similar nature of work.
HARASSMENT BY DEFAMATION
Section 499 of the IPC defines the Defamation if it is a Criminal Wrong. Otherwise in civil cases defamation can be included under the Law of Torts.
4. HARASSMENT BY UNREASONABLE CLAUSES IN THE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS
Industrial Disputes Act 1947
Chapter 5A: LAY OFF AND RETRENCHMENT
This Chapter lays down that a 30 to 90-day notice period applies in order to terminate ‘workmen’ (as defined in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947) – that is, employees whose role is not primarily supervisory, administrative or managerial) for convenience.
- DISCRIMINATION ON GROUNDS OF PREGNANCY AND DISABILITY
According to Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 it is unlawful and unauthorized on the part of the lawyer to discharge or dismiss women when she absents herself from work within the provision of this act.
Section 24A of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 guarantees no discrimination in employment.
10 signs that you’re being bullied at work
Others in your work group are receiving preferential treatment top projects, travel perks and free time. Meanwhile, you find that most of your requests along the same lines are denied without reasonable explanation.
Your progress goes unseen
Say you’ve been given a directive with certain objectives, an ultimate goal and a deadline. You work hard and with focus only to find out, that suddenly there’s a change in direction on the project. Your progress is not celebrated or applied to the new project, but not even taken into account.
All your decisions are questioned
So you are constantly bombarded by excessive micro-managing? You don’t feel like your intuition or decisions are being trusted, and you can’t explain why.Your boss and others hover over you much more than telling you what to do (and what not to do). You get the sense that you are wrongly perceived as incompetent and your decision-making capability is greatly reduced as a result.
You are socially alienated
All of a sudden, you’re excluded from meetings you once attended. Your colleagues tend to discuss work prior to your arrival and you are left with absolutely no clue what to do. Besides, you are not marked on important mails. Co-workers tend to avoid you and keep interaction to a minimum. You may also find that you’re no longer invited to post work drinks with your teammates.
You often feel targeted
Often, when you make a comment, suggestion or disagree with someone’s opinion, you’re responded to with a plethora of responses by others. It doesn’t matter whether you’re right -the gang mentality is determined to prove you wrong.
Your health is failing
Mentally, you’re drained and your energy is zapped. You’re sleeping more and getting out of bed is a real task for you. Exercising and socialising with your folks is a chore. Bullying can lead to depression, anxiety, panic attacks and mood swings. There are physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure, rapid heart beat, and loss of appetite (or excessive eating).
Have experienced verbal spat
You’re subjected to negative, abusive language -reprimanded often in front of the entire office. Verbal abuse can also be more subtle than loud insults.You may find that you are being joked around with in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable and small, and that too can be verbal bullying.
Your work is publicly diminished
Your dedication to your job is not acknowledged by your boss or they give credit to others (for your hard work) in a public setting such as a meeting.
Face unnecessary criticism
It seems that in the eyes of your boss, you are ineffective and unprofessional. Feedback is always provided in the form of criticism and delivered in a way to make you feel awful about yourself. There’s no effort to provide guidance.
Presented unreasonable obstacles
So does the boss man purposely throw roadblocks in front of you to prevent you from successfully completing a project? Now, this is a major act of bullying.
How To Deal With Bullies At Office
Record everything in a journal. Learn about your company policies regarding bullying and prepare to take action.
Have a backup plan in place. You may even want to look for another job, because when you have the security of a backup job, you feel more empowered to face the situation.
When you discuss the issue with senior management, provide ample evidence. Be prepared for the eventuality that you may have to quit.
Dealing with bullies at office can be tough. Limit the damage as early as you can, and get out of the company if they are unable to protect their employees.
Thus we see that Indian Labour Laws not only takes Sexual Harassment At Workplace into consideration but also all other types of harassment that can happen at the workplace as stated above. Certain acts have been laid down by the government governing every issue to protect the interest of the employees and workmen in almost every sector of the industry.
Still, in India a worker can seek redressal under different provisions provided under the constitution of India, IPC, and C.P.C. The Indian Constitution under various articles provides labor rights. Though not in evident form but indirectly various articles protect the labour rights. For instance, Article 14 of the Indian Constitution lays down the concept of Equality before law. In the case of Mewa Ram v. A.I.I. Medical Science , the Supreme Court, held that.
“the doctrine of ‘equal pay for equal work’ is not an abstract doctrine. Equality must be among equals, unequal people cannot claim equality.”
Indian constitution through various articles21, 23, 24, 38, 39, 39-A, 41, 42, 43, 43-A and 47 provides an idea of what conditions should be provided by the employers.However, some of these articles do not have binding effect which at instances hinders justice. Part 4 of the constitution talks about the duty of the state to promote social welfare and to make effective provisions for securing the right to work, providing education and public assistance in cases of employment, etc., which is subject to limits of its economic capacity, to make special provisions for just and humane condition of work and for maternity relief, etc.
In the case of Consumer Education and Research Centre v. Union of India.
“Right to life includes protection of the health and strength of the worker is a minimum requirement to enable a person to live with human dignity. The right to human dignity, development of personality, social protection, right to rest and leisure are fundamental human rights to a workman assured by the Charter of Human Rights, in the Preamble and Arts.38 and 39 of the Constitution.”