Victim of harassment at workplace? Here’s how Pakistani law protects you

Workplace harassment is a prevailing issue, but women are unaware about how law empowers them.

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In Pakistan, sexual harassment continues to haunt women, particularly those who are working in offices but are manipulated to stay silent. One of the key reasons why women do not report cases of such nature is because they do not know about their legal rights. 

But Pakistan law does protect you. Here’s how:

  1. Section 510, Pakistan Penal Code 1860: If a drunk person appears in a public place, causing annoyance to any person, he can be punished with imprisonment or fine or both.
  2. Section 509, Pakistan Penal Code 1860: If a person labels any woman, utters any disrespectful word or is offensive by their gesture, he’s liable to the punishment of three years or fine or both.
  3. Section 366A, Pakistan Penal Code 1860: If a girl under the age of 18 is forced to perform sexual intercourse, the offender is liable to a punishment of 10 years and fine.
  4. Section 509, Pakistan Penal Code 1860: If a person demands sexual favors and uses a verbal or non-verbal form of communication, causing any kind of annoyance, the person is liable to a punishment of three years or fine or both.
  5. Section 509, Pakistan Penal Code 1860: If a person makes a false accusation of fornication against any woman, he is liable to five years in prison along with a fine.
  6. Section 354A, Pakistan Penal Code 1860: If a person assaults a woman using criminal force, stripping off her clothes and exposing her to public view, he is liable to be punished with death or imprisonment for life along with fine.
  7. Section 294, Pakistan Penal Code 1860: If a person uses any indecent or vulgar language in a public place with an intention to offend, he is liable to the punishment of three years along with fine.
  8. According to Section 3 of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010, each organization has to constitute an inquiry committee to inquire into complaints made regarding workplace harassment. The committee should comprise of three members. One member should be a woman.
  9. According to Section 2(H) of Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010, anyone making unwelcoming sexual advance, requesting for sexual favors or his any verbal or physical conduct (falls in the category of workplace harassment) causes interference with work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment for fellow co-workers, can be liable to following penalties:
  • Minor penalties: Censure withholding for a specific period. Promotion or increment stoppage for a specific period. Recovery or compensation, payable to the complainant from pay or any other source of the accused.
  • Major Penalties: Reduction to a lower post. Compulsory retirement. Removal from service. Dismissal from service or fine.

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