Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace has decided to start effective monitoring of all private and public sector organisations to ensure implementation of the anti-harassment law. The public and private organisations that would be monitored in the first phase included private and public banks, cellular companies and public and private universities.
A senior official of the Federal Ombudsman Office told Business Recorder on Thursday that the decision has been taken to curb the harassment at the work place by ensuring complete implementation of the law. State Bank of Pakistan and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority have written letters to their respective organisations to ensure implementation of the anti-harassment law in their jurisdictions and make conducive environment for women at the workplace.
The regulators have also directed their respective organisations to display the Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace code of conduct at prominent places. “All cellular companies and public and private banks have also been directed by their regulators to set-up anti-harassment committees in their respective human resource departments,” the official said.
On the other hand, Higher Education Commission has also written fresh letters to all public and private universities to ensure implementation of the anti-harassment law for women at workplace. The official, however, disclosed that the universities are still reluctant to set-up anti-harassment committees to enable working environment for women. “Office of the ombudsman is pushing the HEC to ensure implementation of the law at the private and public sector universities,” he said.
He said the ombudsman office has decided to take volunteers from all public and private sector organisations for the monitoring. “We are resource constraint and doesn’t have enough staff to monitor all the institutions,” he said. The volunteers will start their work by the start of next year and they would have authority to issue notices and fine the organisations that are not complying with the directives.
“The organisations that are not taking anti-harassment law seriously would be fined from 25,000 rupees to 100,000 rupees,” he said. Since its establishment in 2011, the court of the Federal Ombudsman has received around 200 cases of harassment and disposed of over 150 cases. Some of the cases are still under process.
Some prominent incidents of sexual harassment happened in Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad and Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi in last couple of years. Four cases of sexual harassment were registered in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, while one at Lok Virsa, a cultural entity, and two employees of the Alternate Energy Development Department and one each of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Pakistan Television.