KARACHI: The office of the Sindh Ombudsman for Protection of Women against Harassment at Workplace will make at least four complaint centres functional by the end of this month, sources told Dawn on Sunday.
A source in the provincial ombudsman office said that high-ups had been working on a plan to establish a number of complaint centres at district and divisional levels to receive complaints of women in urban and rural areas about harassment, including sexual advances, sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment at workplace.
In addition to the one complaint centre working at the office of the ombudsman located in the Sindh secretariat, the other complaint centres would be established initially in South and East districts of Karachi, Khairpur, Larkana and Dadu. The federal government had made the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010.
The law required the government departments, corporations, autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies as well as private institutions employing services of women to form an inquiry committee comprising one chairperson and two members, at least one of them to be a female, for hearing complaints against harassment.
Sindh Ombudsman for Protection of Women against Harassment at Workplace retired Justice Pir Ali Shah said that the objective of the law was to create a safe environment for women, which was free of harassment, abuse and intimidation.
He said that under the act it was the responsibility of the employer to ensure implementation of the law.
He said that if any establishment in the private or government sectors failed to comply with provisions of the law and did not form any inquiry committee on a permanent basis, any of the employee of the organisation concerned might file a petition before the district court and on having been found guilty the employer shall be liable to fine between Rs25,000 to Rs100,000.
He said some centres would start functioning from July, while more complaint centres would be set up after allocation of funds for purpose in the ensuing provincial budget.