The Punjab Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act (the Act) was passed in 2012 to prevent harassment of women at the workplace and encourage reporting of cases of harassment, through the Ombudsperson’s office and Inquiry Committees.
- Under the Act, all Provincial and District Government bodies and authorities, including educational institutes and medical facilities, must constitute Inquiry Committees for harassment at the workplace and display the Code of Conduct for Protection of Women from Harassment at the Workplace in their office premises.
- A Complainant has the option to submit a complaint to the Inquiry Committee, or the Ombudsperson.
- The Inquiry Committee will inform the accused person that he has been accused of harassment within 3 days of receiving a complaint. If the accused fails to submit his defence within 7 days, the Committee will decide the matter without the accused person.
- Under the Act, the Ombudsperson has the power of a Civil Court, and can summon the accused, examine him on oath, receive evidence on Affidavits, and enter office premises for the purpose of inspection or investigation.
- The Inquiry Committee or the Ombudsperson can decide the case and penalize the accused for harassment, as outlined in section 4 of the Act.
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