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SLA refutes allegations of inaction in sexual harassment case

Last Updated: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 23:11

Mumbai: SriLankan Airlines on Thursday refuted allegations of inaction in a "sexual harassment" case filed by one of its Delhi-based woman employees, saying a competent committee set up under the Vishaka guidelines has already investigated the matter before closing it in 2012.

However, at the same time, the Airline, in a statement, said it is already in the process of obtaining legal advice from its lawyers in India and will take appropriate action.

An Indian woman employee of Srilankan Airlines had yesterday moved a petition in the Delhi High Court for action against the air carrier for alleged non-implementation of the Vishaka guidelines which deals with cases of sexual harassment at workplaces.

The petition by the woman, a sales executive in the airline, was mentioned by advocate Ajay Verma who said her complaint of sexual harassment against a senior colleague, a Sri Lankan, has been pending since 2009 and the airline has not taken any action against him.

"SriLankan Airlines has already conducted an investigation into the alleged sexual harassment claim, in accordance with Special Policy Against Harassment (SPAH) which characterises the Vishaka guidelines and closed this matter in 2012," the Sri Lankan national carrier said here in a detailed statement.

Therefore, the airline categorically refutes the statement which indicates that the company has not implemented Vishaka guidelines, it said.

As per the Supreme Court guidelines, any organisation with more than 20 women should have a three-member committee to look into the cases of exploitation, if any, and take necessary disciplinary action. Two of these should be from within the organisation while one an outsider.

SPAH is special mechanism set up by the airline to investigate complaints of employees relating to harassment experienced by them during the course of their employment and to take remedial or punitive actions against the employees as necessary depending on the findings of the investigations.

More importantly, SPAH embodies the principles enshrined
in the Vishaka guidelines laid down by India`s apex court, it said.

The Committee set up by the Company under the SPAH to investigate into the matter comprised the then company secretary, senior manager, International relations and manager, human resources development and business partnering, it said.

The majority of the Committee were women and it was chaired by a woman, which is in line with one of requirements laid down in the Vishaka Guidelines, the statement pointed out.

On the complainant`s allegation of airline transferring her to Kochi from Delhi, the Airline clarified, "It was purely on legitimate business reasons and in full accordance with the terms and conditions of her employment and the transfer policy of SriLankan Airlines."

The woman`s petition had sought government direction to ensure implementation of the Vishaka guidelines as well as provisions of the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act in all airlines which fall under the jurisdiction of the Civil Aviation Ministry.

First Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 23:11
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