The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ombudsman in collaboration with United Nations Women has introduced a toolkit to investigate incidents of sexual harassment of women in the workplace.
The toolkit will provide training to those who will be assigned to investigate and prosecute workplace sexual harassment, according to a statement from the United Nations Women.
Ayesha Mukhtar, the UN spokeswoman for Pakistan, said in a statement that harassment of women in the workplace was on the rise, making it difficult for women to become economically empowered and access to employment opportunities. Coming, it not only affects the affected person and her family but as a result, the overall economic situation deteriorates due to lack of productivity and jobs.
She said that it is very encouraging that women are raising their voices about their experiences of sexual harassment and there is a need to increase the number of institutions that can respond effectively to their complaints.
Harassment of women in the workplace affects not only the victim and her family but also society as a whole, the statement said, adding that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ombudsman and the UN Women aim to strengthen the existing system, raise awareness and provide informational products. Enhance the capacity of the Office of the Ombudsman and ensure effective enforcement of the law to eliminate incidents of harassment in the workplace.
Speaking on the occasion of the virtual launch of the toolkit, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ombudsman Rakhshanda Naz said that our focus was on effective implementation of anti-harassment laws and its role in the economy.
Pakistan’s current laws provide protection to women in the event of harassment in the workplace, according to which women are protected in the following cases.
Improper action by the employer that is direct and offensive or the employee feels herself working in a hostile environment.
Any objectionable act, phrase or manner that causes personal humiliation or embarrassment and any act that is intimidating or threatening.
The law also requires organizations and companies to form a three-member committee to investigate any harassment within 30 days of the complaint, and to have at least one female member.
If any staff member is found to have committed harassment, they may be given the following punishments.
- Be reprimanded
- The promotion or increment of the said person should be stopped for some time
- Stop coming to the office for a while
- Ensure payment of fine to the complainant by the accused.
- Other punishments include demotion, immediate retirement, dismissal and fines.