Observing that establishment of sexual harassment allegations in an enquiry is sufficient enough for imposing major penalty, the HC set aside a labour court order, which rejected the termination of a worker found guilty of sexually harassing two women, on the basis that the company had failed to consider his past conduct.
As per the case, P Ramesh joined Ford India Private Limited on May 13, 2010, as a production associate. But within two years, in September 2012, two women levelled sexual harassment charges against him through written complaints.
Following the issue of show cause notices and an enquiry by an independent woman advocate, it was established that Ramesh was guilty of the charges levelled against him. Thereafter, he was terminated from service on July 3, 2013.
On the same day, the company had also moved an approval petition to ratify the termination. But the Assistant Commissioner of Labour (Conciliation) 1, Sriperumbudur, while holding that the enquiry was fair and proper and that there was prima facie evidence against Ramesh and that he was not victimised, set aside the termination on the basis that as per Clause 25(g) of the Certified Standing Orders, the past conduct of Ramesh was not considered. This led to the company moving the present appeal.
However, Justice Subramaniam on noting that the question of considering the past conduct does not arise as the said workman’s service was short, said, “The offences against women in the workplace are considerably increasing. Thus, serious actions are highly warranted, to ensure equal opportunity in public employment and to create a conducive atmosphere in workplaces where women employees can work peacefully.”