In a shocking incident that came to light, a woman working as a cleaner on the premises of the Parliament of India, has alleged that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor for six months. Also, she has not been able to lodge a complaint in Lok Sabha secretariat sexual harassment committee.
The woman has been employed since 2011 with a private housekeeping service, which has been given the contract for the maintenance of several government offices including the Parliament and its allied buildings. In mid-2014, a new site in-charge joined the company and became her supervisor who allegedly harassed her, reports The Hindu.
The complainant said if she complained, he would threaten to have her removed from the job. She told of an incident when she asked her supervisor for chemicals to clean the bathroom. She said:
“He asked me what I would give him in return. When I told him that I could only return what I had been given to work with, he indicated that there were other things I could give him. When I asked him not to talk to me that way, he threatened to have me fired.”
At the end of 2014, the supervisor confiscated her Parliament entry pass, effectively stopping her entry into her workplace. She complained about this to the private company she was working with. Shortly after, the woman sent a letter to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan in the first week of January.
The Lok Sabha secretariat has a functioning sexual harassment committee. The woman alleged she was frequently taunted about her complaint. The private company made the supervisor apologize to the woman and she was transferred to the Lok Sabha.
Finally, on May 8, the police registered an FIR under section 509 of the IPC which deals with sexual harassment.