Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - BCCI formalizes wide-ranging POSH policy. BCCI has brought the office-bearers, players under the scope of harassment
BCCI has brought the office-bearers, players under the scope of harassment
The Apex Council of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ratified the Prevention of Sexual Harassment policy at a virtual meeting on Monday (September 20) adopting wide scope measures that determines ‘what is sexual harassment', ‘who all will come in its scope', remedial measures, timeframe for action, complaints committee, manner of inquiry and penalties for harassment.
Crucially, the BCCI has brought the office-bearers, players under the scope of harassment and specifically mentioned that a complaint by a woman even at a match will also be deemed as sexual harassment.
The policy also states that there will be no retaliation against complainant and confidentiality over the matter will be enforced strictly. Besides, the BCCI also will assist the complainant in filing such complaint and initiate action against the perpetrator.
Apart from the office-bearers and players, those who come under the scope are, BCCI Apex Council members, IPL Governing council members, BCCI staff, commentators, support staff of a team, match officials like umpires and state association members. Apart from the BCCI office, the National Cricket Academy (NCA), venues of the match, venues of the training, hotel and meeting places also come under the definition of workplace, the policy noted.
Giving different timeframes for different stages of complaints, the BCCI said it will form a four-member Internal Complaints Committee (IC) once a complaint has been lodged with a presiding officer who will be a woman. Besides, two members of the ICC will also be women. “At least one half of the members of the IC will be women,” the policy notes adding, “The IC will conduct an inquiry into the complaint in accordance with principles of natural justice,” and parties will not be allowed to bring lawyers.
Defining sexual harassment, the policy said, (a) physical contact and advances; or (b) demand or request for sexual favors; or (c) making sexually colored remarks; or (d) showing pornography; or (e) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature constitute sexual harassment.
The scope of harassment also includes “(a) implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment; or (b) implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment; or (c) implied or explicit threat about present or future employment status; or (d) interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment; or (e) humiliating treatment likely to affect health or safety. “
An important point highlighted by the policy is, “Sexual harassment may also occur when an individual's submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct is used as a basis for employment or other engagement decisions affecting that individual, such as hiring, promotions, pay increases and termination or for rights and contracts of any nature. Sexual harassment also occurs when unwelcome sexual conduct interferes or could interfere with an individual's job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment, or when the individual is subjected to humiliating treatment accompanied with an act of unwanted sexual behavior which jeopardizes the health, mental well-being or safety of the individual.”
The report also has outlined the punishments which range from counselling to termination of employment. “If any BCCI Personnel is found to be guilty of sexual harassment by the Committee or of any of the actions set out in the Policy, the BCCI shall impose or cause to be imposed, inter alia, one or more of the following penalties against such BCCI Personnel,” the BCCI said in note and mentioned the punishments which are (a) Censure; (b) Counselling; (c) Carrying out community service; (d) Warning; (e) Fine; (f) Loss of pay; (g) Loss of seniority; (h) Withholding of promotion or pay rise/increments; (i) Termination of contract/employment with or without notice or compensation in lieu of notice; (j) Appropriate legal proceedings; (k) Written apology; and/or,” the BCCI said.
If any player or an Indian team member is found guilty, the policy says, “Any other punishment prescribed under the BCCI Code of Conduct for Players and Team Officials or any other applicable policy governing misconduct of BCCI Personnel, as proportionate to the gravity of the offence. “In addition to the above, the Committee may deduct a sum from the salary or wage of the respondent (if the respondent is found guilty) of such amount as it may consider appropriate for payment as compensation to the complainant or to the complainant's legal heirs.”
KEY FEATURES OF THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY
The Policy is to be followed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (“Board”), including but not limited to any committees, departments and groups that have been or will be set up by or under the Board, including but not limited to those relating to the Indian Premier League (“IPL”) and the National Cricket Academy (“NCA”) (together, “BCCI”) for the prevention, prohibition and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment against women at the workplace. The Policy is subject to the Act and may be amended from time to time in accordance with the Act. Any matter which has not been specifically covered or discussed under the Policy, shall be dealt with in the manner prescribed under the Act.
The BCCI has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of harassment, including sexual harassment at the workplace. The main purpose of the Policy is to promote a safe working environment for women, free from sexual harassment, in which persons of both sexes work as equals and complement each other in a way that encourages maximum productivity.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behavior (whether directly or by implication), namely:
(a) physical contact and advances; or
(b) demand or request for sexual favors; or
(c) making sexually colored remarks; or
(d) showing pornography; or
(e) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
The BCCI will not retaliate, nor will it tolerate retaliation against any BCCI Personnel or an aggrieved woman who files a complaint of sexual harassment in good faith or is a witness in the IC proceedings. 18. Confidentiality 18.1 All proceedings, documents and records maintained under the Policy, including the names of the complainant, respondent and witnesses shall be confidential and shall be dealt with in the manner provided under the Act. 18.2 All persons involved in the proceedings under the Policy including the parties, witnesses, Committee members and any other BCCI Personnel who become aware of any incident of sexual harassment, whether directly or indirectly, shall be under a duty to respect and maintain confidentiality