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THE CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE to the state to protect the citizen’s right to live with human dignity echoed by the Apex Court of this country is a unconditional promise that the polity owes to every citizen . In Visakha v. State of Rajasthan the Supreme Court laid down certain guidelines for protection of the woman employees from sexual harassment. But it is not the women alone who are subjected to harassment at work places.
All the employees irrespective of their gender are subjected to one or the other kind of harassment at work place. Unfortunately, although the problem of sexual harassment attracted enough and needed attention, non-gender based harassment and bullying, continued for most part, to be ignored. The humiliation caused to the employees at work place which is also informally called as “bullying at work place”has serious ramifications on the mental and physical health of the employees and affects their work performance.
In our country the culture of subordination of lesser grade employees to higher grade employees was crept into. Thus Bullying or humiliation and harassment at work place are a menace that prevails in every office in one or the other form. The work place harassment to the employees even resulted in suicides by the employees.
It cannot be forgotten that harassment and bullying of the employees at work place intrinsically connected with their right to live with human dignity enshrined in our constitution. Our constitution imposes an obligation on the part of the State to protect the dignity of the individual at all places including at the work places.
Thus the State is under an obligation to make it possible for the employees to work in genuine and human conditions of work without any humiliation and harassment in which their right to honor and dignity is not infringed. At no stretch of imagination harassment in the name of discipline and administration cannot be justified. The discipline is altogether different from harassment and humiliation.
In all civilized societies the right of the employees to be treated with respect and dignity is recognized. The employees need protection from the harassment and a new legislation for this purpose is needed. Let all of us understand that the conflict and misunderstandings are facts of the life and becomes more so when there is increased interaction amongst the employees and with their superior officers.
A mechanism to resolve the differences reduce the conflicts and to provide remedies in case of discrimination, harassment, and humiliation at work place benefits the organization as well as the employees. The productivity at any work place can be enhanced by making the office environment free from harassment and bullying and by safe guarding their dignity rights.