Safe and conducive environment for women employees in the workplace
Disney STAR’s quest for competitive excellence consists of a commitment to lawful and ethical conduct and adhering to corporate governance philosophy. Integrity, honesty, and respect for people remain some of our key values at work. We are an equal employment opportunity company and committed to creating a healthy and safe work environment that enables all our employees to work without fear of prejudice, gender bias, and any form of harassment including sexual harassment. Towards this end, we expect each employee to interact with their colleagues with fairness and respect.
The Company has a strict mandate that no person shall indulge or cause to be indulged under instructions from superiors or otherwise in sexual harassment of women at the workplace.
With a view to promoting the safety and well-being of all women employees in the workplace, the Company has formulated a policy on the prevention of sexual harassment of women in the workplace (“Policy”). The Policy is in line with the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“Act”) and the Rules thereunder which came into effect on December 09, 2013. This Policy has been formed to prohibit, prevent, and/or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment of women at the workplace and to provide the procedure for the redressal of complaints pertaining to sexual harassment.
This Policy applies to all persons employed at the Walt Disney Company’s subsidiaries and affiliates in India (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Disney Star” or the “Company”) for any work on regular, temporary, ad hoc or daily wages, enter directly or through an agent, including a contractor, with or without the knowledge of the Company whether for remuneration or not whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes co-workers, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or called by any other such name (“Employee”).
What is Sexual Harassment?
1. Sexual Harassment includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behavior (whether directly or by implication):
a) Physical contacts and advances. For e.g., unwelcome grabbing or deliberately touching or brushing against any part of the body of another person and the like; or
b) A demand or request for sexual favors. For e.g., forcing a subordinate to provide sexual favors either by express or implied promising promotion, pay increases or easier work life or threatening detrimental treatment at work; or
c) Making sexually colored remarks. For e.g., questioning anyone’s sex life, making sexual innuendos or gender-based sexist remarks or jokes which are sexually colored; or
d) Showing pornography. For e.g., displaying pornographic pictures, cartoons, or sayings in the Workplace; or
e) Any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature (whether by words, gestures, or actions). For e.g., forcing a woman to drink or dance against her wishes, sharing or emailing sexist jokes or making sexist remarks.
The act or conduct must be ‘unwelcome’ and of a “sexual nature” in order to constitute Sexual Harassment. It must be noted that it is a subjective experience, and it is the impact and effects the conduct has on the woman that will define the behavior as Sexual Harassment and not the intention of the Respondent.
2. The following circumstances, among other circumstances, if it occurs or in present in relation to or connected with any act or behavior of Sexual Harassment may amount to Sexual Harassment:
a) implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment; or
b) implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment; or
c) implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; or
d) interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her; or
e) humiliating treatment like to affect her health or safety.
3. Sexual Harassment of women is also a criminal offence
4. Sexual Harassment of women is not only physical but also emotionally abusive, which results in the creation of a hostile work environment, which is unhealthy and affects productivity, health, and/or safety of the woman at the Workplace.
“Workplace” includes the company premises and any other place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment. This includes without limitation company offsite, office meetings held outside the office premises whether in a hotel, restaurant or at an employee’s residence or any other place. A restaurant where an employee stops by for a meal during the course of visiting or returning from a business meeting outside the office would be deemed to be a Workplace.
With the evaluation of remote working, all official virtual meetings, official WhatsApp groups, etc. will also be constituted as the workplace.
“Aggrieved Woman” in relation to the Workplace includes any woman, of any age, whether employed or not with the Company, who alleges to have been sexually harassed by the Respondent and includes visitors to the Workplace. For e.g., a woman who visits the Workplace for an interview can file a complaint with the Internal Committee if she is sexually harassed by the interviewer or any Employee of the Company.
“Respondent” shall be the person against whom the complaint of sexual harassment has been made by the Aggrieved Woman.
The Internal Committee and filing Complaints.
The Internal Committee
Pursuant to and in compliance with the provisions of the Act, an internal committee has been constituted to prevent, address and hear all complaints related to Sexual Harassment (“Internal Committee”). The Internal Committee shall be notified by the Company from time to time.
Process of filing Complaints
1. Any Aggrieved Woman may file a written complaint before the Internal Committee addressing it to the Presiding Officer within a period of 3 (three) months from the date of the incident and in case of a series of incidents within a period of 3 (three) months from the date of the last incident. The period of 3 months for filing a complaint may be extended by the Internal Committee by another 3 months, for the reasons recorded in writing, if the Internal Committee has a reason to believe that certain circumstances prevented her to file the complaint within the aforesaid limitation period. The complaint can be filed using any of the following modes of communication:
b) By regular mail, by addressing the complaint to any of the Internal Committee members at Disney Star India Private Limited, Star House, Urmi Estate, 95 Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel (West), Mumbai 400013
c) By registering a complaint with the POC. The POC will submit the complaint to the Internal Committee and accordingly apprise the Aggrieved Woman. If the complaint is against the POC, then the Aggrieved Woman. needs to follow point (a) or (b)
2. Where the Aggrieved Woman cannot make the complaint in writing, any member of the Internal Committee shall render reasonable assistance to the woman for making such complaint in writing, provided however, no member of the Internal Committee shall write the complaint on her behalf.
3. The complaint must be filed by the Aggrieved Woman herself who has been the victim of Sexual Harassment, however, in certain cases where she is unable to make a complaint on account of her physical incapacity or for any other reason is unable to make a complaint, such complaints may be filed by any person being her relative, friend or co-worker who has knowledge of the incident, with her written consent.
4. The complaint shall contain the name of the Aggrieved Woman, the name of the Respondent and details of the incident preferably including the date, time and place of the occurrence. In no event shall the Internal Committee proceed to hear an anonymous complaint. The complaint must also contain the names of witnesses and/or evidence if any to support the complaint. The Company understands that many incidents of Sexual Harassment may not have any evidence or witnesses to support the claim, however, we encourage such Aggrieved Women to still approach the Internal Committee nevertheless.
5. The Aggrieved Women, in addition to the above, also have the right to seek legal remedies, as may be provided under the various laws for the time being in force.
All persons who receive such a complaint shall maintain absolute confidentiality and forward the same to the Internal Committee to take action as enumerated hereunder.
The Internal Committee shall convene their meeting with the Aggrieved Woman as soon as possible upon receipt of the complaint, whether oral or in writing, and explain the process to the Aggrieved Woman. It is to be noted that the Internal Committee can commence with the process only when the complaint is submitted by the Aggrieved Woman in writing. In the event, the Aggrieved Woman has verbally discussed the incident of Sexual Harassment with the Internal Committee, the date of commencement of the process shall be the date of receipt of the written complaint with the documents listed above.
Upon the receipt of the written complaint as per above, the Internal Committee shall proceed with the process in the following manner:
a) The Internal Committee, may, before initiating an inquiry, at the request of the Aggrieved Woman take steps to settle the matter between her and the Respondent through conciliation provided that no monetary settlement shall be made as a basis of conciliation.
b) Where a settlement has arrived, the Internal Committee shall record the settlement so arrived and forward the same to Company Management.
c) The Internal Committee shall provide copies of the settlement as recorded to the Aggrieved Woman and the Respondent.
d) Where settlement has arrived, no further inquiry shall be conducted.
e) The terms of the settlement shall be complied with at all times. If any of the terms or conditions of the settlement are not complied with by the Respondent, then the Internal Committee shall proceed to make an inquiry into the complaint.
Pendency of inquiry:
The Internal Committee during the pendency of the inquiry, on a written request made by the Aggrieved Woman, may recommend to the Disney STAR Management (employer), which shall be implemented by them to:
b) Grant leave to the Aggrieved Woman up to a period of three months; or
c) Grant such other relief to the Aggrieved Woman as may be prescribed.
d) The leave granted to the Aggrieved Woman shall be in addition to the leave she would be otherwise entitled to.
e) Restrain the Respondent from reporting on the work performance of the Aggrieved Woman or writing her confidential report and assign the same to another officer/Manager.
Inquiry Report and Recommendations
The Internal Committee shall provide a report of its findings to the Management within 10 days from the date of completion of the inquiry.
Where the Internal Committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the Respondent has been proven, it shall recommend any of the following punishment and compensation depending on the severity, frequency and impact of Sexual Harassment to the Management:
b) Written warning,
c) Reprimand or censure,
e) Community service,
f) Withholding of promotion,
g) Withholding of increment, or
h) Termination; or
i) Any other action/punishment as decided by the Internal Committee.
The following factors shall be considered while arriving at the quantum of compensation to be paid by the Respondent found guilty of Sexual Harassment:
a) the mental trauma, pain, suffering and emotional distress caused to the Aggrieved Woman;
b) the loss of a career opportunity due to Sexual Harassment;
c) medical expenses incurred by the victim for physical or psychiatric treatment;
d) the income and financial status of the Respondent;
e) feasibility of such payment in a lump sum or in instalments.
The Company shall:
a) Ensure the communication of this policy, and any other relevant information, to all its employees
b) Organize workshops and training programs at regular intervals to sensitize the employees regarding the provisions of the policy
c) Provide necessary facilities to the Internal Committee for dealing with complaints and conducting inquiries
d) Assist in securing the attendance of the Respondent and witnesses before the IC and make available any information the Internal Committee may require in conducting its inquiry
e) Provide assistance to the Aggrieved Woman if they choose to file a complaint in relation to the offence under the Indian Penal Code
f) Where sexual harassment occurs as a result of an act or omission by any third party or outsider, the Company shall take all steps necessary and reasonable to assist the affected person in terms of support and preventive action
g) Cause to initiate action, under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or any other law for the time being in force, against the perpetrator, or if the Aggrieved Woman so desires, where the perpetrator is not an employee, in the workplace at which the incident of sexual harassment took place
h) Treat sexual harassment as misconduct under the Policy and initiate action for such misconduct
i) To take such actions based on the findings and recommendations of the Internal Committee as per the Act
j) Provide proper protection against retaliation to complainants, witnesses, committee members and other employees involved in prevention and complaint resolution
k) Monitor the timely submission of reports by the Internal Committee
Criminal Proceedings: Where any conduct of Sexual Harassment amounts to a specific offense under the Indian Penal Code or under any other applicable law, the Internal Committee/Management shall, if the Aggrieved Woman so desires or chooses, assist in, or initiate appropriate action in accordance with the law including filing/registering a complaint with the appropriate authority.
Third-Party harassment: Where Sexual Harassment occurs with a Disney STAR employee as a result of an act by a third party or outsider, while on official duty, wherever they may be (whether within or outside office premises), we will take all steps necessary and reasonable to assist the affected Disney STAR employee in terms of support and preventive action.
Confidentiality: All information received shall be kept strictly confidential. All persons including the Respondent, witnesses and members of the Internal Committee shall maintain strict confidentiality and shall at all times keep the contents of the complaint, name of Aggrieved Woman, Respondent and witnesses and the process strictly confidential. Any person (including witnesses) who breach confidentiality shall be subject to disciplinary action
Protection against retaliation: Regardless of the outcome of the complaint that is made in good faith, the employee who is lodging the complaint and any person providing information or any witness will be protected from any form of retaliation. While dealing with complaints of Sexual Harassment, the Internal Committee shall ensure that the complainant or the witness is not victimized or discriminated against by the accused. Any unwarranted pressures, retaliatory or any other type of unethical behaviour by the accused/perpetrator against the complainant while the investigation is in progress should be immediately reported to the Internal Committee. Disciplinary action will be taken by the Internal Committee against any such complaints which are found genuine.
False complaint: A complaint filed by the Aggrieved Woman knowing it to be false or untrue or where a forged or misleading document has been provided shall be considered to be a false complaint. In the event, the Internal Committee arrives at a conclusion that the complaint against the Respondent is malicious or false, it shall recommend the punishment to the Aggrieved Woman, which shall be the same punishment as provided in case of Sexual Harassment. Similarly, in the event, the Internal Committee arrives at the conclusion of a false testimony by the witness, or a forged or misleading document produced by the witness, the Internal Committee shall recommend the punishment to such witness, which shall be the same punishment as provided in case of Sexual Harassment. It is to be noted that the mere inability to substantiate a complaint or provide adequate proof does not make a complaint malicious or false. Further, the malicious intent of the Aggrieved Woman shall be established after an inquiry before recommending any action.
Appeal: In the event any party is aggrieved of the recommendation or the order of the Internal Committee, they can file an appeal with the Industrial Tribunal or the appropriate appellate authority within 90 days from the date of such recommendation
Core Internal Committee
Ujwala P. Wakhle