Prevention of Sexual Harassment Policy

It is a core goal principle of the Company to ensure gender equality and gender justice through all its interventions and practices. In keeping with this principle, it is important to ensure an organizational climate free from discrimination and harassment with a particular focus on sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment of employees occurring in the workplace or in other settings in which staff may find themselves in connection with their employment is unlawful and will not be tolerated by this organization. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

In compliance with the ‘Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013’ and as per the guidelines laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Vishakha vs. State of Rajasthan (hereinafter “Vishakha Guidelines”) pertaining to sexual harassment at the workplace, the Company has constituted its Internal Complaints Committees (“ICCs”) for its office locations with a representation across the Company’s locations, to specifically address any complaints of sexual harassment. Every complaint received shall be forwarded to ICC formed under this policy for redressal. For the locations where adequate number of employees are not present, the Internal Complaint Committee at Gurgaon location shall be applicable.

The Company takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously and will respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and wherever it is determined that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, prompt and appropriate corrective action as is necessary, including disciplinary action, will be taken.

Definition and Applicability
For the purposes of this Policy, the following words shall mean as stated below:

Staff” shall mean any person employed by the Company and /or its subsidiaries, joint ventures, group companies including associates whether full-time, part-time, temporary, voluntary, seconded, contracted or casual and also researchers, trainees, apprentices, and consultants.

Sexual harassment” includes any unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether director by implication) such as:
o Sexual gestures
o Unwelcome advances or requests for sexual favors
o Displaying sexually suggestive objectives, pictures, calendars
o Sending suggestive and pornographic correspondence including faxes, text messages or e-mails
o Unwelcome sexual comments and jokes
o Unwelcome physical conduct such as pinching, unnecessary touching, etc.
o Unwanted physical contact such as unnecessary touching, groping, patting, brushing against another individual’s body, insulting or abusive behaviour or gestures, physical threats, assault, or coerced sexual relations.
o Any other unwelcome “sexually determined behaviour” be it physical, verbal, or non- verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Preventive Action
Consistent with the existing law under Vishakha Guidelines and the Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the Company shall take all reasonable steps to ensure prevention of sexual harassment at work. Such steps shall include:

o Circulation of Company’s policy in English/Hindi/vernacular in regional offices on sexual harassment to all persons employed by, or in any way acting in connection with the work and/or functioning of the Company.
o Ensuring that sexual harassment as an issue is raised and discussed at the Company’s meetings from time to time.
o Conduct or cause to carry out in-house gender training on sexual harassment and addressing complaints to members of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Cell.
o Widely publicize that sexual harassment is a crime & will not be tolerated.

Internal Complaints Committee
Presently, the Internal Complaints Committees consist of the following members:

o Head Office - Gurgaon

         Chanchal – outside female member
        Shweta Singh – Head IT
        Neha Duggal – Legal Manager
        Hussain Malik – Head HR

o Branch Office, Patna

        Chanchal – outside female member
        Kavita Verma – HR
        Neha Duggal – Legal Manager
        Rajeev Kumar – Company employee

Procedure for Dealing with Complaints of Sexual Harassment
o If any staff member believes that he/she has been subjected to sexual harassment, such person shall have the option to file a complaint with the ICC as soon as possible.
o This may be done in writing or orally. Even if initially, it is done verbally, it is always preferable to have the complaint in writing.
o A complaint may be filed by contacting any one of the members of the ICC at their location at the following email ids:

Shweta Singh
Neha Duggal
Hussain Malik
Rajeev Kohli
Rajeev Kumar
Kavita Verma

o Informal complaints of sexual harassment may be made to the immediate senior within the Department/Division or directly to the ICC or any of its members as stated above.
o Informal way of dealing with complaints of sexual harassment is as follows:
       - An informal approach to resolve a complaint of sexual harassment can be through mediation between the parties involved and by providing advice and counselling on a strictly confidential basis. The procedures though less stringent than formal procedures will be conducted in the full spirit of this policy document.
       - The case will be taken up for investigation at an informal level by a member of the EQC in a confidential manner. The matter will be reviewed, and the alleged offender will be approached with the intention of resolving the matter in a confidential manner.
       - If the incident or the case reported does constitute sexual harassment of a higher degree, the member will suggest taking it up for disciplinary action or with the agreement of the complainant; the case can be taken as a formal complaint.
       - The choice whether to deal with the complaint in the informal way or through the formal mechanism (whether the case constitutes sexual harassment of a higher or lower degree) should depend entirely on the complainant.

o All formal complaints of sexual harassment have to be referred to the ICC. Department Heads, or any other staff, are not empowered to penalize such accused staff.
o The investigation into a complaint will be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. The EQC has to be set up within Two (2) weeks of receiving the complaint. The ICC is responsible for setting up the EQC with support from the Company’s Management.
o The EQC has to investigate and submit its report to ICC within Ten (10) days from the date of completion of the inquiry. The ICC will have to decide on recommendations and forward it to the COO of the Company within Two (2) weeks of receiving report from EQC.
o In case of exceptional circumstances, the time limit for investigation may be extended by the ICC. The ICC has to inform both the complainant and the accused.
o In case where the Internal Complaint Committee arrives at a conclusion that the allegation against the respondent is malicious or the person making the complaint has made the complaint knowing it to be false, in such case, the Company has the right to take action against the person who has made such false complaint.

Process of Inquiry
o Upon receiving a formal complaint, the ICC shall ask the complainant to prepare a detailed statement of incidents if written complaint is sketchy. A statement of allegations will be drawn up by the ICC and sent to the accused.
o The accused will be asked to prepare a response to the statement of allegations and submit to the ICC within the given time.
o The statements and other evidence obtained in the inquiry process will be considered as confidential materials.
o An officer in the organization could be designated to provide advice and assistance to each party if requested by either of them.
o The ICC will arrange for verbal hearings with the complainant and the accused.
o The statement of the complainant will be recorded by the EQC, and clarification be sought from the accused. The accused may cross-question the complainant if there is a need to do so in the presence of the EQC.
o The EQC will take testimonies of other relevant persons and review the evidence whenever necessary. Care should be taken to avoid any retaliation against the witnesses by giving necessary protection.
o The ICC will take its decision after carefully reviewing the circumstances, evidence, and relevant statements in all fairness.
o If the accused, being provided with a fair opportunity to participate in the inquiry and defend him/her, fails to participate in the inquiry, the ICC may conduct the inquiry ex - parte.
o The ICC will ensure confidentiality during the inquiry process.
o In the course of investigating any complaint of sexual harassment, the ICC shall ensure that the principles of natural justice are adhered to, namely:
       - Both parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to be heard along with witnesses and to produce any other relevant documents before the ICC;
       - Upon completion of the investigation, both parties will be informed of the results of that investigation.
o Documents which form part of the official record shall also be given to the complainant if the need arises.
o The ICC shall be empowered to do all things necessary to ensure a fair hearing of the complaint including all things necessary to ensure that victims or witnesses are neither victimized nor discriminated against, while dealing with a complaint of sexual harassment. In this regard, the ICC shall also have discretion to make appropriate interim recommendations vis-à-vis an accused person pending the outcome of a complaint including suspension, transfer, leave, change of office etc. The complainants should have the option to seek transfer of the perpetrator or seek his/her own transfer.
o In the event the ICC determines that sexual harassment has occurred, it will make appropriate recommendations as to necessary action to be instituted to remove the offensive conduct and, where appropriate, to institute disciplinary action. The complainant’s views may be taken into consideration for this purpose.
o Given that the Company views any finding of sexual harassment, a serious violation of human rights, if it is determined that inappropriate conduct has been committed by a staff member, appropriate action will follow under the circumstances. Such action may range from counselling to termination from employment and may include such other forms of disciplinary action that the ICC deems appropriate under the circumstances. The ICC will be guided by HROD procedures for disciplinary action within the Company. If the aggressor is guilty of serious sexual harassment or has repeatedly committed acts of sexual harassment then he/she must be dismissed. In appropriate cases he/she may also be required to pay monetary compensation. If the offence is of serious nature (which involves challenging modesty of the complainant or any kind of molestation), then the complaint shall be lodged under Section 354 of the IPC with the consent of the complainant.
o Sexual harassment by line managers or by colleague senior to the victim, then such acts will be considered to be very serious and will attract higher penalties.

Third Party Harassment
Where sexual harassment occurs as a result of an act or omission by any third party or outsider, the Company will take all steps necessary and reasonable to assist the affected person in terms of support and preventive action.

Management Obligations
o Management shall provide all necessary assistance for the purpose of ensuring full, effective, and prompt implementation of this policy. It shall further be bound by the decisions of the ICC and shall implement the same expeditiously.
o The support to be provided to ICC includes:
       - Secretarial and administrative support for training and other preventive actions
       - Helping to set up EQCs.
       - Secretarial support during enquiries
       - Adequate financial resources for all activities
       - Time planning for members of ICC
o The responsibility for preventive activities (regarding sexual harassment) rests with the Management.
o The responsibility of taking prompt action on ICC recommendations lies with the COO of the Company. However, if the COO has a difference of opinion, then he/she may ask the ICC to review its decision. Action on ICC recommendations should be taken within Two weeks of the recommendation being made.
o The Company is expected to provide adequate protection to ICC and EQC members in case of threats and any retaliation. Support and protection must also be provided (by Management) if matter goes to Court. Management should in all cases defend the ICC and the complainant.
o In the event the conduct complained of, amounts to a specific offence under the Indian Penal Code or under any other law in existence, the ICC, subject to the wishes of the complainant, shall take appropriate action in making a complaint with the appropriate authority. The management will have to provide all manner of support required in such instances.
o The Management will actively assist and do all that is necessary to ensure the safety of a complainant in the office premises or otherwise in respect of any duties/activities performed in connection with her work, which take place outside the office premises.
o The Management has to ensure that the ICC and EQC retain their autonomy and may work unhindered.
o The proceedings under this policy shall not be stalled or postponed merely because the complainant is proceeding against the accused under any other provision of law.
o The provisions of this policy shall not restrict the powers of the Management or the complainant to proceed against the alleged offender for any other misconduct or other legal remedies.