As rightly pointed out by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India[1], Every citizen has the Right to live with Human Dignity. An imperative aspect of this lies in the respect given to people at the workplace. Over the interim of the past few decades, people at the workplace have been subjected to sexual harassment, workplace bullying and several other issues.

Although sexual harassment has been recognized and fairly curbed as a result of the Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan[2] case and the Sexual harassment of women at the workplace (Prevention and Redressal) Act, 2013, the problem still persists. Employees are still not adequately cared for and are not given the honour and dignity that they deserve by their employees despite the Apex Court’s reminder on the necessity for protecting people at the workplace.

The hierarchal structure in a workplace has mostly contributed to the phenomenon. Harassment is often perpetuated by a person of a higher ranking to a person of a lower ranking. As some may justify that this is used as a tool to incentivize the efficiency of the subordinate, the counter effects of it are often foreshadowed. It is true that the superiors at a workplace require control over their subordinates but humiliation is beyond the periphery of their function.

This often results in a deteriorating effect of the employee’s confidence, mental health, efficiency and social ability. Non-gender harassment is an untouched aspect which has to be acknowledged and acted upon at the soonest.

A set of principles regarding the same must be made so as to protect the interest of the employees at a workplace. There are no strict legislations made to regulate the interpersonal relationship between the superiors and their subordinates. Although this is usually regulated internally in some private entities, these regulations are not uniform.

The need of the hour is to make solid, structured and capable legislation that incorporates every form of workplace bullying.

  • [1] AIR 1978 SC 597
  • [2] AIR 1997 SC 3011

Author: Vishnu Sudarshan P, Student at CMR School of Legal Studies.