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January 30, 2019

Ombudsperson imposes fine of Rs100,000

Islamabad

January 30, 2019

Islamabad : Federal Ombudsperson Secretariat for Protection against Harassment at Workplace on Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs100,000 and one scale demotion of Support Services Coordinator for Handicap International on harassing a female staff member.

The decision was taken on a complaint regarding physical harassment was filed by Assistant Manager Human Resource (HR) Benazir Awan, and Administration at Handicap International on 9th October, 2018 against Support Services Coordinator for Handicap International.

According to details shared in the decision, on June 21, 2018 the complainant along with Saba (HR Officer) planned a visit to Ministry of Interior (MOI) and for that purpose they requested the logistics department for an official vehicle. Sumera (Monitoring and Evaluation Officer) wanted to go to the bank therefore she also joined them. On their way to MOI, Sumera and the Complainant stopped for lunch and the vehicle took Saba to MOI.

Meanwhile, Accused received this information and started calling every staff member except the Complainant to inquire where they were and called a meeting to discuss this issue. He was of the opinion that the vehicle was misused.

On the same day in evening when the Complainant's colleagues had left the office, accused asked the complainant to stay in office as he wanted to have some official discussion with her after he gets back from a meeting. He arrived late for the meeting and at the end of the meeting, he touched her and stated that if she needed any such favor or car then she should have asked the Accused personally and he would have facilitated her. In other instances, Accused also used to text message the Complainant asking if she was alone at home or her mother was with her too. The accused also offered her personal pick and drop.

The decision given by the Ombudsperson was that “this forum reached to the conclusion that the Accused is found guilty hence major penalty to be imposed on the Accused under Section 4(4)(ii)(e) of The Protection Against Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2010 i.e. a fine of Rs100,000 to be paid within 15 days of receipt of this judgment.” Moreover, the Accused has been demoted by one scale and the administration at Handicap International is directed to implement this order in letter and spirit, and report to Ombudsperson’s office within 15 days of receipt of the judgment.

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