Work Place Harassment & Discrimination Procedures
1.1.ICRISAT is committed to the diversity of its staff members and i n providing them with equal opportunities.
1.2. ICRISAT will ensure that all staff members are treated fairly and equitably in an environment, free of harassment and discrimination.
1.3. The purpose of this document is to provide a systematic guidance to staff members about harassment and discrimination, raising complaints and to have them
addressed in a prompt and confidential manner.
1.4. Any breach of the policy will invite immediate disciplinary action.
2. WHAT IS WORKPLACE HARASSMENT?
2.1. Harassment is any unwelcome verbal or physical behavior that unreasonably interferes with work or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. It can be based on race, religion, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, medical conditions etc.
2.2. Examples of harassment behaviors include, but are not limited to:
2.2.1. Verbal or written abuse directed at a person
2.2.2. Persistent requests for social/ personal relations after they have been rejected
2.2.3. Making jokes at the expense of a person
2.2.4. Oral abuse or derogatory comments based on any of the diversity aspects.
2.2.5. Abuse based on a person’s age
2.2.6. Persistent, unwelcome proposals for personal relationships
2.2.7. Direct or indirect invitation for sexual engagement
2.2.8. Deliberate exclusion of a person from the normal social activities of the workplace; interference with a hindrance of a person’s work.
3. WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
3.1. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favor or other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which interferes with work
and makes a person feel offended and humiliated creating a hostile or offensive work environment.
3.2. Sexual harassment is behavior which is NOT respectable and is not based on mutual consent or friendship.
3.3. Examples of sexual harassment could include, but are not limited to:
3.3.1. Intrusive enquiries into a staff member’s private life.
3.3.2. Reference to their sexuality or physical appearance.
3.3.3. Suggestive comments about a person’s appearance.
3.3.4. Leering or staring at a person or parts of their body.
3.3.5. Display of indecent images at the workplace.
3.3.6. Unwanted touching of a person.
3.3.7. Molesting a person.
3.3.8. Indecent exposure.
3.3.9. Sexual assault.
3.3.10.Sending or sharing of sexual jokes or anecdotes.
3.3.11.Unwanted sexual compliments or excessive flirting.
4. WHAT IS DISCRIMINATION?
Discrimination is treating a person or a group of people more or less favourably
compared to other person or a group because of their race, color, religion, national or
ethnic origin, gender, pregnancy or marital status, age, disability, religion, sexual
preference, or any other characteristics.
5.1. All ICRISAT staff members have the right to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment.
5.2. Workplace discrimination and harassment is unacceptable and unlawful. It includes all work-related contexts including conferences, work functions, business or field trips, and interactions with clients.
5.3. ICRISAT will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment towards staff members, customers, partners, or any other stakeholders from staff members at any level.
5.4. Any behavior that seems to deny individuals their dignity is considered offensive. The behavior need not be intentional in order to be considered offensive.
5.5. Any complaints or reports of discrimination or harassment will be dealt with promptly, seriously and empathetically.
5.6. Supervisors will be subjected to disciplinary action if they fail to take prompt and appropriate action after they first become aware of any harassment or discrimination.
5.7. All complaints will be investigated thoroughly, impartially and confidentially.
5.8. Staff members will not be disadvantaged in their employment conditions or opportunities as a result of lodging a complaint.
5.9. ICRISAT will support and represent its aggrieved staff members in such cases.
6. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE POLICY
6.1. ICRISAT will treat each complaint with a high level of sensitivity and confidentiality.
6.2. To ensure consistent and prompt implementation of the policy, the Director General on a case-by-case basis will establish a Disciplinary Committee as per clause 188.8.131.52 of the Personnel Policy Manual.
6.3. The Disciplinary Committee is responsible for resolving all cases related toarassment and discrimination.
6.4. When dealing with issues of gender discrimination or sexual arassment, the Disciplinary Committee will also include members from both genders with experience and knowledge in handling gender issues.
7. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STAFF MEMBER
All staff members will:
7.1. Comply with the ICRISAT’s workplace Harassment and Discrimination Policy.
7.2. Offer support to anyone who is harassed or discriminated against including provision of evidence as witness.
7.3. Maintain strict confidentiality during and after any investigation of harassment or LAI discrimination.
7.4. Staff members must take assertive action if they feel they are subjected to harassment or discrimination, regardless of the position of the alleged offender or the
nature of the harassment.
7.5. Staff members must make the disapproval known to the offender immediately. If the behavior does not stop, it should be reported to his/her supervisor or one of the
designated authorities describing dates, time, and nature of the behavior, witnesses etc.
7.6. If the complaint is against the supervisor, the staff member is authorized to discuss it with the next level of management; i.e., the supervisor of the direct supervisor.
7.7. The staff member also has the option to discuss it confidentially with the Director Human Resources and Operations (DHRO).
7.8. A staff member may also refer their complaint to the relevant staff council.
8. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SUPERVISOR
8.1. The primary responsibility for investigating the complaint is with the supervisor except if he/she is the alleged offender. In highly sensitive cases assistance of the DHRO should be sought.
8.2. If the matter is very sensitive or serious or involves senior staff members, the supervisor must report any complaint of harassment or discrimination by confidential memo to the DHRO.
9. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MANAGEMENT
9.1. Management will implement this policy to eliminate all forms of harassment or discrimination.
9.2. Management will ensure that the policy is disseminated to all staff members.
9.3. All members of ICRISAT’s management will ensure the following:
9.3.1. Be role models by their own behavior and actions.
9.3.2. Ensure that representatives in the Disciplinary Committee are known to all staff members.
9.3.3. Treat all complaints seriously and confidentially.
9.3.4. Ensure that immediate and appropriate corrective actions are taken.
10. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HR DEPARTMENT
The Human Resources Department will:
10.1. Provide guidance and training, where requested and/or appropriate, to cases
and decisions relating to harassment and discrimination.
10.2. Communicate to ensure that managers/supervisors are aware of their
responsibilities, and of the rights and entitlements of staff members in relation to
harassment and discrimination.
10.3. Provide support and guidance to staff members in relation to the prevention of
discrimination and harassment.
PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION
11. THE INFORMAL APPROACH
11.1. Aggrieved staff members may seek advice and help from their immediate
supervisor. The supervisor may resolve minor issues or misunderstanding through
mediation between the staff members involved and by providing advice and counsel on a
strictly confidential basis.
11.2. The supervisor may discuss the matter discreetly with the staff member and the
offender with a view to achieving an informal resolution.
12. FORMAL COMPLAINT:
12.1. The complaint must be submitted in writing to the immediate supervisor or the next level of management if the complaint is against the immediate supervisor. Staff member may contact DHRO in sensitive cases.
12.2. The complaint must identify the alleged offender; describe the specific offensive act(s), the time, location, circumstances, and any other information relevant to the case.
12.3. The complaint should state any witness to the act(s). The complaint must be signed and dated by the staff member.
12.4. The supervisor or the next level manager must:
12.4.1. Review the complaints seriously. If requested by the complainant, allow the complainant to be accompanied by another staff member or a representative of the staff council in any meetings.
12.4.2. Maintain detailed documentation and evidence, quoting the complainant’s own words where necessary.
12.4.3. Reconfirm with the complainant to ensure accuracy.
12.4.4. Explain and agree next action with the complainant.
12.5. If the supervisor decides that further investigation is not required based on the information received, admission of guilt by the offender etc, he/she shall forward a written report to the Disciplinary Committee.
12.6. The Disciplinary Committee will review the report and decide on further actions needed.
12.7. A complaint may go for investigation when the person with primary responsibility feels that the information available is not sufficient to make the decision.
12.8. If investigation is requested, or is appropriate, the procedure shall be as follows:
12.8.1. The Disciplinary Committee will investigate the complaint. In special cases, if the investigation is against a senior official, the Disciplinary Committee will create an inquiry
panel with appropriate members with higher authority.
12.8.2. Investigation Procedure as mentioned in the Disciplinary Procedure as laid down in clause 16.6 of the Personnel Policy Manual will be followed.
12.9. A copy of the case report will be kept in the offender’s personal file for records.
13. POTENTIAL OUTCOMES
13.1. Outcomes will depend upon the severity and frequency of the harassment or discrimination, the weight of the evidence, the wishes of the complainant, the level of apology acceptable to the complainant, prior incidents, warnings etc.
13.2. The possible course of actions may include, but not be limited to the following:
13.2.2. Disciplinary action against the offender (Disciplinary Procedure)
13.2.3. Disciplinary action against the person who complained if there is strong evidence that the complaint was vexatious, malicious or false.
14. FOLLOW UP ACTION AFTER COMPLAINTS
14.1. The Disciplinary Committee will carry out a follow-up enquiry with staff members who have lodged the complaint after a reasonable period of time, regardless of the outcome.
14.2. The enquiry will be made to ascertain whether the complainant has been subjected to any retaliation or threat of retaliation by the offender, alleged offender or any other staff member.