Tweets, jokes, stalking and gossip are now workplace harassment
Members of the National Assembly approved changes in Pakistan workplace harassment law to expand the meaning of harassment, who is considered an employee and who can complain.
The changes have been made to paragraphs e, f and h of section 2 of the 2010 Law on the Protection against Harassment of Women in the Workplace.
The law applies to the extent of the territory of the capital of Islamabad.
Tweets, jokes, gossip can now constitute harassment
Parliament approved amendments or changes to the definition of harassment so that it is no longer limited to sexual harassment alone. It can now include “any unwanted behavior that creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, demeaning or offensive environment on the basis of age, disability, gender, religion or belief and race or orientation. sexual ”.
This is considered unwanted behavior:
Spoken or written words
Comments on social media sites
The law now defines sexual harassment as “any unwanted and unwelcome sexual advancement, request for sexual favors or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature”.
Remarks of a sexual nature or forcibly showing or discussing pornography with a person are now also legally referred to as sexual harassment.
Voyeurism and stalking will now also be considered sexual harassment in the workplace if they interfere with job performance. Trying to punish a complainant for refusing to comply with such requests is also punishable under the law.
Transgender people can now file a complaint
Paragraph (e) of the law (which deals with the definition) has been amended to indicate that a “complainant means a person who has filed a complaint with the ombudsman or the investigation committee for being wronged by an act of harassment ”.
Previously, the definition limited the complainant to a woman or a man.
The change “aims to broaden the scope and include transgender people, so that the law can apply without discrimination to all employed citizens,” the bill reads.
Section 2 (f) of the Act was amended to include a person hired through an agent in the definition of employee. The amendment says that the employee can be hired with or without the knowledge of the primary employer and that the terms of employment can be “express or implied”.
The law now identifies a colleague as an employer. This will have an impact on cases in which complaints are dismissed on the technical ground that there is no employee-employer relationship as happened in the Meesha Shafi-Ali Zafar case.
The Punjab mediator (Protection against harassment of women in the workplace) rejected Meesha Shafi’s complaint against Ali Zafar on the technical grounds that they did not share the status of employee-employer.
The actor had to go to the Supreme Court to have his appeal approved.