StratDeep Pvt. Ltd. and DeepStrat Consulting LLP (hereinafter collectively referred to as DeepStrat) is committed to create a safe and secure work environment where all its stakeholders such as employees, consultants, vendors and partners can work and pursue business in an atmosphere free from any sexual harassment, exploitation and intimidation.
The present policy seeks to ensure a work environment free of sexual harassment of any sort and is designed to meet the legal requirements under The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
The Policy shall apply to all employees of DeepStrat, or third parties whenever misconduct occurs, in connection with a DeepStrat activity.
Sexual Harassment shall be irrespective of gender, between same sex or opposite sex. Sexual Harassment is judged by the impact on the complainant and not the intent of the Respondent.
- ‘Complainant’ shall mean any employee, including consultants and interns, alleging an incident of sexual harassment, or on whose behalf such complaint has been filed;
- ‘Internal Complaints Committee’ (ICC) is the committee constituted by the Competent Authority to look into the incidents of sexual harassment at DeepStrat;
- ‘DeepStrat’ refers to StratDeep Pvt. Ltd. and DeepStrat Consulting LLP;
- ‘Company’ refers to DeepStrat;
- ‘Personal relationship’ is defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
- ‘Respondent’ shall mean any person against whom a complaint of sexual harassment has been filed;
- ‘Sexual Harassment’ means and includes any unwelcome conduct, verbal, physical, textual, electronic, visual or graphic threat of a sexual nature, and shall include, but is not limited to:
- Any unwelcome physical contact or advance;
- any advances, demands or requests for sexual favour;
- sexually coloured communication that is targeted at a particular person and leads to humiliation or harassment;
- sexually explicit content or gestures;
- showing pornography;
- any single or repeated sexually determined behaviour or conduct that creates intimidating or a hostile work environment;
In addition, the following acts circumstances, among other circumstances, if it occurs or is present in relation to or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment may amount to sexual harassment:
8. ‘Third party’ refers to any person who does not have a service agreement with DeepStrat and is engaged in or is collaborating with the company on work-related projects.
- implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in the employment;
- implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in the employment;
- implied or explicit threat about their present or future employment status;
- interfering with their work or intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment; humiliation treatment likely to affect their health or safety;
- humiliating treatment or retaliation likely to affect the health, safety, and career of the complainant
9. ‘Workplace’ means any space, physical or digital, associated with work and shall include any place visited by the employee in the course of employment.
4. PROHIBITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
All instances of sexual harassment at workplace are prohibited and shall be dealt as per the The Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition And Redressal) Act, 2013 (“the Act”) and this Policy created under the Act.
5. CONSTITUTION OF THE INTERNAL COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE (ICC)
A Committee called “Internal Complaints Committee” (hereinafter ‘ICC’) will be formed by an order in writing by DeepStrat.
- The ICC shall be constituted by the Board of Directors with the following members:
a. A Presiding Officer, who shall be a woman employed at a senior level at workplace from amongst the employees. In case of non-availability of senior level woman employee, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from administrative units of the work place.
b. Not less than two (2) Members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge.
c. One member from amongst non-governmental organisations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment.
Provided that at least one-half of the total Members so nominated shall be women.
6. COMPLAINT REDRESSAL MECHANISM
- Any aggrieved person may make, in writing, a complaint of sexual harassment at workplace to the ICC within a period of three months from the date of incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of three months from the date of last incident. This may further be extended by the ICC for a period not exceeding three months upon recording the reasons in writing, if circumstances were such which prevented the aggrieved from filing a complaint within the said period.
- Provided that where such complaint cannot be made in writing, the Presiding Officer or any Member of the ICC shall render all reasonable assistance to the aggrieved for making a complaint in writing.
- Where the aggrieved employee is unable to make a complaint on account of their physical or mental incapacity or death or otherwise, (a) legal heir or friend; or (b) co-worker; or (c) any person who has knowledge of the incident, with a written consent of the aggrieved person, may make a complaint.
- The ICC shall make inquiry into the complaint in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
- The complainant or person authorized on their behalf as per above provision, shall make a complaint to the ICC along with supporting documents and names and address of witnesses, if any.
- On receipt of such complaint, the ICC shall provide a copy of such complaint along with supporting documents to the Respondent within seven working days.
- The respondent shall file a reply to the complaint along with their list of documents, and names and addresses of witnesses, if any, within a period not exceeding ten working days from the date of receipt of the documents from the ICC.
- The ICC shall investigate the complaint in detail by giving reasonable opportunities of being heard to both the parties. For the purpose of making an inquiry, under this policy, the ICC shall have the power of a civil court vested in it, in respect of:
a. Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him under oath;
b. Requiring discovery and production of documents;
c. Any other prescribed matter.
9. All proceedings of the ICC shall be recorded in writing. The record of the proceedings and the statements of witnesses shall be endorsed and authenticated by the persons concerned as well as by the members of ICC present in that meeting.
10. During the inquiry process, the Complainant and the Respondent shall refrain from any form of threat, intimidation or influencing of witnesses.
11. The ICC should take steps to ensure that the complainant and the respondent are not put in a position where they may be face to face, unless it is deemed absolutely necessary and the complainant assents to the same.
12. The ICC shall ensure confidentiality during the inquiry process and that sufficient care is taken to prevent any disadvantage to or victimization of either the complainant or to the respondent.
13. The ICC shall have the right to terminate the inquiry or give ex-parte decision on the complaint, if the respondent or complainant remains absent for 3 consecutive hearings, without sufficient cause, provided that such termination or ex-parte order may not be passed without giving a notice in writing, fifteen days in advance, to the party concerned.
14. The ICC must complete its inquiry within a period of ninety days.
15. The parties shall not be allowed to bring any legal practitioner to represent them in their case at any stage of the proceedings before the ICC.
16. For conducting the inquiry, the quorum of the ICC shall be at least of 3 members including the presiding officer.
17. In case the ICC is not able to arrive at a majority in its decision, the case shall be referred to a member, whose decision will be taken into account while arriving at the final decision.
a. Such member will be chosen by the CEO with the concurrence of the Chairperson of the ICC.
18. The ICC may, before initiating an inquiry, and at the Complainant's request, attempt to settle the matter between them through conciliation.
7. INTERIM RELIEF
During pendency of the inquiry, on a written request made by the Complainant, the ICC may recommend to the employer to -
a) Transfer the Complainant or the respondent to any other department or section
b) Grant leave to the Complainant for a maximum period of three weeks
c) Prevent the respondent from assessing complainant’s work performance or to transfer him/her to any other department or section
d) Grant such other relief as may be appropriate
Once the recommendations of interim relief are implemented, the company will inform the ICC regarding the same.
- The ICC shall, on completion of the inquiry, provide a report of its findings within ten days from the date of completion of the inquiry and such report shall be made available to both complainant and respondent.
- If the allegation against the respondent has not been proved, the ICC may recommend not to take any action in the matter.
- If the ICC arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has been proved, it shall recommend to the company to consider sexual harassment as a misconduct and take action in accordance with the provisions of the Service Rules of the Company.
- Such action shall be taken within sixty days of the receipt of report.
9. FALSE ALLEGATIONS
- The complaint of sexual harassment made by any employee shall be taken up with utmost seriousness by the company. However, there shall be zero tolerance for any false accusation.
- On inquiry, if the ICC comes to a conclusion that the allegation was made with malicious intent or the aggrieved person or any other person making the complaint on behalf of the Complainant produced false or forged or misleading documents to prove his/her case, the ICC may recommend to take action against the person who made the complaint as per Service Rules.
In such a case, malicious intent has to be established after an inquiry in accordance with the procedure prescribed, before any action is recommended. A mere inability to substantiate a complaint or provide adequate proof would not attract action as provided herein. A similar recommendation for taking action would be recommended against any witness whom the ICC concludes, that they have given false evidence or produced forged or misleading documents.
3. The above provision is not to discourage employees from coming forward with complaints.
10. DUTIES OF THE COMPANY
The Company shall:
- provide a safe working environment at the workplace which shall include safety from the persons coming into contact at the workplace;
- Display at any conspicuous place in the workplace, the penal consequences of sexual harassment; and the order constituting, the Internal Complaints ICC under Section 5(1);
- Organise workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitising the employees with the provisions of the Act and orientation programmes for the members of the Internal Complaints ICC;
- Provide necessary facilities to the ICC for dealing with the complaint and conducting an inquiry;
- Assist in securing the attendance of respondent and witnesses before the ICC;
- Make available such information to the ICC as it may require having regard to the complaint made under sub-section (1) of section 6;
- Provide assistance to the complainant if they so choose to file a complaint in relation to the offence under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or any other law for the time being in force;
- Cause to initiate action, under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or any other law for the time being in force, against the perpetrator, or if the complainant so desires, where the perpetrator is not an employee, in the workplace at which the incident of sexual harassment took place;
- Treat sexual harassment as a misconduct under the service rules and initiate action for such misconduct;
- Monitor the timely submission of reports by the Internal ICC.
- The Company, with the approval of the CEO and the Chairperson of the ICC, may make any alteration or amendment or rescind any of the clauses of this Policy as and when it finds it necessary to do so, as long as it complies with the Act.
- Any such alterations or amendment or rescinding will be intimated to the employees and third parties.
- Nothing contained in this Policy shall operate in derogation of any law for the time being in force or to the prejudice of any right of any employee under any other Rules or Law.
- The ICC shall prepare an annual report with the following details and shall submit the same to the management to include in its annual report:
a. Number of Complaints of sexual harassment received during the year;
b. Number of complaints disposed of during the year;
c. Number of cases pending for more than ninety days;
d. Nature of actions taken by the company;
e. Number of workshops or awareness program against sexual harassment carried out
5. The above report shall be submitted before the end of each financial year to be included in the Company’s Annual Report.
6. All employees who enter into a consensual personal relationship with any other employee or contractor associated with DeepStrat, will have to submit a Personal Relationship Declaration Form to the Human Resource Department (attached as Annexure I of this policy) with a copy to Chairwoman of the ICC, duly signed by both partners who have entered into a consensual relationship. A failure to do so will lead to penal actions as decided by the supervisor/company/HR department as deemed fit.
1. Shachi Solanki (Chairperson)
2. Kriti Singh (Member)
3. Sashidharan Kollery (Member)
4. Padmini Ray Murray (External Member)
This policy is issued with the approval of the Board.