RPSU is committed to foster an open and supportive culture that promotes learning, teaching, research, and discovery. This commitment includes ensuring a shielded ambience for the learners, teachers, employers and employees free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has a cumulative, demoralizing effect that discourages women from asserting themselves within the workplace or institution while among men it reinforces stereotypes of women as vulnerable sex objects. Severe or pervasive sexual harassment creates a hostile or intimidating environment that causes women to leave their jobs or education.
Unethical code of conducts like Sexual harassment strikes the moralaxioms of RPSU. RPSU team is relentlessly functioning to curb such type of fallacious practice. Therefore, this policy aims at protecting every individual at RPSU irrespective of age, sex, marital status, education or profession, religion, caste, sexual orientation and ethnic group. The motto is to ensure justice to the victim irrespective of any of the aforementioned variables.
Therefore RPSU has adopted a policy regarding sexual harassment in workplace/educational institution accordance with the very specific guideline provided by a judgment of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh dated 14.05.2009 in the case of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) VS. Bangladesh and Others, 14 BLC (2009) 694.
These guidelines shall apply within the premises of RPSU.
2. Aims and objectives
The aims and objectives of these guidelines include-
(a) to create awareness about sexual harassments;
(b) to create awareness about the consequences of sexual offences;
(c) to create awareness that sexual harassment is punishable offence.
3. Duties of employers and authorities
Since it is the duty of all citizens and public servants to observe the Constitution and the laws, and since the Constitution of the Republic in several articles ensures gender equality and the State’s firm and consistent stand against all sorts of discrimination on the ground of sex, and since the Constitution ensures equal rights of women with men in all spheres of the State and public life and contemplates equality before law and right to equal protection of law, it shall be the duty of the employers and other responsible persons in work places, and the authorities of all educational institutions to maintain an effective mechanism to prevent or deter the commission of offences of sexual abuse and harassment, and to provide effective measures for prosecution of the offences of sexual harassment resorting to all available legal and possible institutional steps.
i. Sexual Harassment includes-
a. Unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication)
as physical contact and advances;
b. Attempts or efforts to establish physical relation having sexual implication by
abuse of administrative, authoritative or professional powers;
c. Sexually coloured verbal representation;
d. Demand or request for sexual favours;
e. Showing pornography/porn videos;
f. Sexually coloured remark or gesture;
g. Indecent gesture, teasing through abusive language, stalking, joking having sexual implication;
h. Insult through letters, telephone calls, cell phone calls, SMS, electronic social media, pottering, notice, cartoon, writing on bench, chair, table, notice boards, walls of office, classroom, washroom having sexual implication;
i. Taking still or video photographs for the purpose of blackmailing and character assassination;
j. Preventing participation in sports, cultural, organizational and academic activities on the ground of sex and/or for the purpose of sexual harassment;
k. Making love proposal and exerting pressure or posing threats in case of refusal to love proposal;
l. Attempt to establish sexual relation by intimidation, deception or false assurance. Such conduct mentioned in clauses (a) to (l) can be humiliating and may constitute a health and safety problem at workplaces or educational institutions; it is discriminatory when the woman has reasonable grounds to believe that her objection would disadvantage her in connection with her education or employment in various ways or when it creates a hostile environment at workplaces or educational institutions.
ii. Concerned Authority means: The authority of RPSU, which has power to ensure disciplinary rules to take action in case of misconduct.
iii. Disciplinary Rules means: Any Acts, Ordinances and any Rules adopted under any ordinance, as enacted/ promulgated by the Government and any compatible Guidelines or Directions imposed by RPSU to ensure discipline within the organization.
iv. In this Policy “woman”& man means A woman & man of any age as defined in the Nari o Shishu Nirjaton Domon Ain, 2000 & Penal Code 1860.
v. RPSU means: Ranada Prasad Shaha University (an institution of Kumudini Welfare Trust of Bengal (BD) Ltd.).
5. Creating awareness and public opinion
a. To create a safe environment and to prevent and eliminate gender discrimination and sexual harassment and torture in workplace and educational institution, the employer/concerned authority shall give the utmost importance to awareness raising publications and communication. To this end, concerned authority shall be arranged orientation before the formal classes start for a new session in RPSU, and monthly and half yearly orientation shall be arranged for all newly appointed employees;
b. if necessary , proper counseling shall be arrangement for any concerned persons;
c. The relevant sections of the Constitution and statutory laws which provide for women’s rights shall be published in simple language notifications to build the awareness of all;
d. To promotion awareness among law enforcing agencies, the students and employer of the organization shall hold regular communications and effective dialogue with the administrative authority;
e. Booklets shall be published containing these guidelines and provisions of the Constitution and statutes regarding gender equality and sexual offences;
f. Awareness shall be created regarding fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
6. Preventive steps
Although the High Court Guidelines mention gender discrimination they do not give any directions regarding this. However, RPSU, an institution of Kumudini Welfare Trust of Bengal (BD) Ltd. has effort and combat in various steps to remove gender discrimination.
The RPSU’s students, employers, engaged employees and authority shall take effective measures to prevent sexual harassment. The following steps shall be taken to fulfill such duties:
a. Taking extensive and effective measures to notify publish and communicate the prohibitions on sexual violence and harassment contained in Clause 4 of this Policy;
b. Constitutional and statutory provisions against gender discriminations and sexual harassment and punishment for the offences of sexual harassment and torture shall be widely circulated;
c. It must be ensured that there is no hostile environment towards women at workplaces and educational institutions, and to engender confidence and trust in women workers and students that they are not placed in a disadvantaged position in comparison to their male colleagues and fellow students
7. Disciplinary Action
According to clause 4 (i) of this Policy, disciplinary action shall be initiated to prevent
Sexual harassment and torture.
If the disciplinary rules of the RPSU do not contain the above mentioned behaviors, then effective steps must be taken to receive complaints for resistance of sexual violence and harassment and for providing remedies.For this purpose, the following shall be included in the procedure for receiving complaints;
a. It must be ensured that the identity of the complainant and also that of the accused will not be disclosed until the allegation is proved;
b. Security of the complainant will be ensured by the Concerned Authority;
c. Complaint can be lodged by the victim or through her relatives, friends or lawyers, and it can be sent by mail/email also;
d. A complainant can file the complaint with a female member of the Complaint Committee separately;
e. The complaint will be lodged with the Complaint Committee to be constituted as provided in clause 9 below.
9. Complaint Committee
a. The concerned authority of the RPSU shall constitute a Complaints Committee to receive complaints, conduct investigations and make recommendations;
b. The Complaints Committee shall comprise of a minimum of 5 members of whom the majority shall be women. If possible, the head of the Committee shall be a woman;
c. A minimum of two members of the Complaints Committee shall be from outside the RPSU, and from any organization which works on gender and sexual violence;
d. The Complaints Committee shall present an annual report to the Government regarding the implementation of this Policy.
10. Procedure of the Complaint Committee
Normally the complaint has to be lodged with the Complaint Committee within 30 working days of the occurrence. To verify the complaint the Complaint Committee shall:
a. In cases of minor harassment, the Complaints Committee shall with the consent
Of both parties resolve the complaint and shall send a report to the concerned
authority of RPSU regarding this matter;
b. In every other case, the Complaints Committee shall investigate the matter;
c) The Complaints Committee shall have powers to give notice to both parties and
to witnesses by registered post, to conduct hearings, to collect information and evidence and to examine all relevant documents. In case of such complaints, in addition to oral testimony, other circumstantial testimony shall also be given importance. The concerned authority of the RPSU shall be bound to provide all kinds of support to the Complaints committee at its request for its effective functioning. The Complaints Committee shall ensure the anonymity of the identities of the complainant(s). When taking the oral evidence of the complainant(s), demeaning, insulting and harassing questions shall be refrained from. The testimony shall be recorded with a video camera. If the complainant withdraws the complaint or requests an end to the investigation, then the Committee shall investigate the reason for this and mention it in the report. The Complaints Committee shall submit their investigation report along their recommendations to the concerned authority of the organization within 30 days. If necessary the time limit of 30 working days may be increased to 60 working days. If it is proven that the a false complaint has been intentionally filed, then the Complaints Committee shall recommend to the concerned authority of the RPSU that appropriate action be taken against the complainant(s). The Complaints Committee shall make its decisions in accordance with the opinion of the majority of its members.
The Concerned Authority may suspend temporarily the accused person (other than students) and in case of students, may prevent them from attending their classes on the receipt of the recommendation of the Complaint Committee. If the accused is found guilty of sexual harassment, the Concerned Authority shall treat it as misconduct and take proper action according to the disciplinary rules of work place and the educational institution within 30 (thirty) days and/or shall refer the matter to the appropriate Court or tribunal if the act complained of constitutes an offence under any penal law.