ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday upheld the penalty of dismissal from service of the Assistant Vice President of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited after it was proven beyond doubt that he had sexually harassed a female employee of the bank.
The president also enhanced the fine of Rs500, 000, imposed by the Federal Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace to Rs600, 000, considering the serious mental trauma he must have caused to the victim, said a statement issued here.
The president gave this decision while rejecting a representation filed by an Assistant Vice President ZTBL (the accused) against the decision of Federal Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace.
In his decision, the president stated that the accused had failed to point out any irregularity in the proceedings conducted by the Ombudsperson, which were based on the true appraisal of evidence.
Rejects ZTBL vice president’s representation against ombudsperson’s decision
The president also upheld the order that since the complainant had been terminated from service in utter violation of the law and rules, conducting no regular inquiry against her and providing no opportunity of hearing to her, the termination order of the victim was illegal and unlawful and could not stand intact.
He further upheld the Ombudsperson’s direction that it would be deemed as if no order of termination was made and the complainant was still a bank employee, and she would be entitled to all her benefits till today.
The president rejected the representation by stating that the accused failed to cross-examine the complainant on vital aspects of the matter, the allegation of sexual harassment and hence for that matter the said allegations were presumed to be admitted and proved on record. He noted that the evidence produced by the complainant seemed credible and confidence-inspiring, whereas the accused had been unable to shatter or discredit the evidence adduced by the complainant.
The statement said that a female Officer Grade-II (the complainant) working at ZTBL’s branch in Gujranwala had filed a harassment complaint against the accused before the Ombudsperson’s. She had alleged that the office of the accused was in proximity to her office and was caught recording her videos on his mobile phone.
During the inquiry proceedings before the Ombudsperson, the complainant produced her affidavit where she stated that the accused had sexually harassed her and he had physically touched her. In her cross-examination, the accused did not ask any question on denial of the specific allegation of sexual harassment.
The accused was held to be guilty of sexual harassment of the complainant beyond any doubt and liable to be awarded punishment in terms of the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010.
The Ombudsperson had recommended the penalty of his dismissal from service along with a fine of Rs500, 000, payable to the complainant as compensation for the hardships she faced at the hands of the accused.
The ZTBL management was also instructed to install CCTV cameras and biometric systems in every branch of the bank to monitor the activities of the employees.