PREVENTION OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT & HARASSMENT

  1. POLICY STATEMENT

    BITSoM prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct, which includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and other forms of sexual misconduct. Such conduct seriously undermines the atmosphere of trust and respect that is essential to a healthy work and academic environment. In case of sexual misconduct, BITSoM will take appropriate action against those responsible and act to prevent its recurrence. In this regard, BITSoM has developed this comprehensive policy, along with accompanying procedures for institutional disciplinary action.

    These policies apply to all members of the BITSoM community. These policies also apply to conduct during BITSoM-related off-campus activities.

  2. POLICY VIOLATIONS

    1.1 SEXUAL HARRASSMENT

    Sexual harassment is discriminatory, unlawful and will not be tolerated at BITSoM. It may involve the behaviour of a person of either sex against a person of the opposite or same sex, and occurs when such behaviour constitutes unwelcome conduct of sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:

    a. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status.

    b. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual.

    c. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for working, learning, or living on campus.

    Types of sexual harassment

    a. Quid Pro Quo: It assumes a power differential. It occurs when an employee or student is subject to unwelcome sexual behaviour or advances, and submission is made a condition of hiring, advancement, admission, or evaluation in the work or academic setting. It can occur whether a person resists and suffers the threatened harm, or the person submits and avoids the threatened harm.

    b. Hostile Environment: Hostile environment occurs when unwelcome sexual behaviour unreasonably interferes with an individual’s performance or creates an intimidating and hostile working environment. A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single severe episode. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment.

    c. Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is any kind of non-consensual sexual contact, including rape, groping, or any other form of non-consensual sexual touching..

    Examples of sexual harassment

    Examples of the kinds of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

    a) Unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations, solicitations, and flirtations.
    b)Threats or insinuations that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation.
    c)Direct propositions of a sexual nature and/or subtle pressure for sexual activity that is unwanted and unreasonably interferes with a person’s work or academic environment.
    d)A pattern of conduct that unreasonably interferes with the work or academic environment(not legitimately related to the subject matter of a course) including:

    o Unwelcome verbal expressions of a sexual nature, including graphic sexual commentaries about a person's body, dress, appearance, or sexual activities; the unwelcome use of sexually degrading language, jokes or innuendoes; unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds or whistles; obscene phone calls.
    o Sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videotapes, audio recordings, computer communications, or literature placed in the work or study area that may embarrass or offend individuals.
    o Unwelcome and inappropriate touching, patting, pinching, or obscene gestures.
    o Inquiries and commentaries about sexual activity, experience, or orientation.

    1.2 POLICY ON FACULTY-STUDENT CONSENSUAL RELATIONS

    The faculty bears authority and accountability as a mentor, educator, and evaluator. The power differential in the faculty-student relationship can make the student vulnerable and put him/her under the threat of coercion. Further, such a relationship can interfere with the learning and personal development of the student.

    The sexual and romantic relationship between them must be avoided, especially when the faculty is or in the future might become responsible for teaching or directly supervising a student. Such a relationship will create a conflict of interest for the faculty and imperil the integrity of the educational process and further jeopardize the learning environment for other students. Situations like these may make the faculty liable for violation of laws against sexual harassment and sex discrimination.

    Therefore, faculty must avoid sexual or romantic relationships with students over whom they have or in the future might have direct responsibilities. It must be noted that faculty must not supervise any student with whom they have a sexual or romantic relationship.

    *This policy also applies to sexual/romantic relationships between academic associates and students

    Violation of the above policies might lead to disciplinary action. For purposes of this policy, ‘direct supervision’ includes:
    o Course teaching
    o Evaluating
    o Examination proctoring
    o Advising on projects taken as a part of degree requirements
    o Recommending in an institutional capacity for employment, fellowships, or awards

    1.3 RETALIATION

    No individual shall be subject to restraints, interference, coercion or reprisal for making a complaint regarding sexual harassment, for serving as a witness or a panel member in the investigation of a sexual harassment/sexual assault grievance. Acts of retaliation are a violation of this policy and will be penalised.

    1.4 MALICIOUS, FALSE ACCUSATIONS

    False allegations occur when individuals knowingly and recklessly make untrue allegations of sexual harassment. They are not the same as situations of not finding the occurrence of sexual harassment. A grievant whose allegations are found to be both false and brought with malicious intent will be heavily penalised.

    1.5 HOW DO I KNOW IF MY BEHAVIOR IS SEXUAL AND/OR UNWANTED?

    Many faculty, staff and students have difficulty in identifying whether their behaviour is sexual or unwanted. Please note that sexual harassment need not be intentional. The intent of the person who is alleged to have behaved improperly is not relevant to determining whether sexual harassment has occurred. Therefore, individuals need to be aware of their behaviours and their possible impact. Below are some of the questions that one may want to ask himself/herself to determine whether one’s behaviour is sexual and/or unwanted.

    1. Is the behaviour initiated equally?
    2. Are we equally powerful?
    3. Would I engage in this behaviour with a person who is not of the gender of people that I am sexually attracted to?
    4. Would I like this behaviour to be made public?
    5. Would I behave this way if my partner, spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend were standing next to me?
    6. Would I want to engage in this behaviour with my child, spouse, mother, father, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother etc?

    If the answer to any of the above questions is NO, your behaviour may be sexual and/or unwanted. 

  3. GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL MECHANISM

    1.1 INTERNAL COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE (ICC)

    BITSoM has constituted an Internal Complaints Committee( ICC) to address grievances against sexual harassment. The ICC will have the following responsibilities:

    1. Provide assistance if an employee or a student chooses to file a complaint with the police
    2. Provide mechanisms of dispute redressal and dialogue to anticipate and address issues through just and fair conciliation without undermining the complainant’s rights, and minimize the need for purely punitive approaches that lead to further resentment, alienation or violence
    3. Protect the safety of the complainant by not divulging the person’s identity, and provide the mandatory relief by way of sanctioned leave or relaxation of attendance requirement or transfer to another department or supervisor as required during the pendency of the complaint, or also provide for the transfer of the offender
    4. Ensure that victims or witnesses are not victimized or discriminated against while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment
    5. Ensure prohibition of retaliation or adverse action against a covered individual because the employee or the student is engaged in protected activity
    6. Inform all individuals about their rights and obligations through training and dissemination of the policy
    7. Increase awareness by including the anti-discrimination, harassment policy in the orientation materials for new faculty, staff, students, and volunteers

    Committee composition

    Following the notification of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, the ICC would be headed by a woman and not less than half of its members would be women. Further, to prevent the possibility of any undue pressure or influence from any quarter, the committee would involve an external expert.

    S. No. Name Membership Email Id
    1 Dr. Leena Chatterjee Chairperson Leena.Chatterjee@bitsom.edu.in
    2 Mr. Narottam Kishore Admissions and Outreach Narottam.Kishore@bitsom.edu.in
    3 Mr. Manoj Kumar Singh Human Resource Manoj.Singh@bitsom.edu.in
    4 Ms. Richa Kujur Marketing Richa.Kujur@bitsom.edu.in
    5 Dr. Deepa Soman External Member Deepa.Soman@lumieresolutions.com



    Further, the following will also be included as member of ICC in case matter involves students.

    S. No. Name Membership Email Id
    1 Ms. Meghashree Kar Student Member Megha.kar2023@bitsom.edu.in
    2 Mr. Rohan Kawley Student Member Rohan.Kawley2023@bitsom.edu.in

    1.2 WHO CAN MAKE ALLEGATIONS

    Sexual harassment can be resolved by the individuals who have experienced an incident of sexual misconduct addressing the issue directly with the alleged harasser. However, when the resolution is not feasible, the person being harassed should promptly report the matter to the ICC.

    A third party may also report the matter if the sexual conduct of others in the education or work environment interferes with his/her welfare, academic or work performance.

    1.3 PROCESS OF MAKING COMPLAINT OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

    1. A complainant person shall submit a written complaint to the ICC within three months from the date of the incident and in case of a series of incidents within a period of three months from the last incident. Provided that where such complaint cannot be made in writing, any member of the ICC shall render all reasonable assistance to the person for making the complaint in writing;

    Provided further that the ICC may, for reasons to be accorded in the writing, extend the time limit not exceeding three months, if it is satisfied that the circumstances were such which prevented the person from filing a complaint within the said period.
    2. Friends, relatives, colleagues, co-students, psychologist, or any other associate of the complainant may file the complaint in situations where he/she is unable to make a complaint on account of physical or mental incapacity or death.

    1.4 COUNSELLING AND SUPPORT

    A person may seek counselling or support on matters related to sexual harassment/sexual assault without having to lodge an informal or formal grievance may contact the counselling and consultation service. Please note that this service does not investigate allegations but only provides counselling and support.

    1.5 COURSE OF ACTION

    1. The ICC shall meet the complainant to fully understand the details of the complaint.
    2. If the Complainant requests, in writing, to settle the matter between him/her and the person against whom she has made the complaint, the ICC shall conduct conciliation meeting to bring about a settlement.
    3. If any settlement is arrived at this shall be recorded and signed by both parties. A copy of the settlement will be given to both and to the management for record. No settlement shall be pecuniary in nature.
    4. If no settlement is arrived at, the CASH shall proceed to conduct the investigation.
    5. The ICC is required to complete all investigations within a period of 90 days, from receipt of a complaint.
    6. The ICC will ask the complainant to provide the particulars of the incidents, supply any document or evidence in support of the allegations, and give the names of the persons who may have witnessed or have knowledge of the incident.
    7. The ICC shall call the person against whom the complaint has been made. They will be provided with the summary of the complaint and will be asked to respond within a specified timeframe. They will also be given an opportunity to bring any document, evidence or witnesses in support of their defence.
    8. The ICC may also choose to call any other person or ask for production of any documents or records at their discretion, during the investigation.
    9. The ICC will prepare a preliminary report and share it with both. The parties may make a representation before the committee on their view of the findings.
    10. The ICC shall submit its final report and recommendations to the Dean’s Office within 15 days of the completion of the investigation. All the statements/depositions before the CASH must be documented and signed by the concerned parties. The final report will also have to be signed by all the committee members. On finding alleged guilty, the committee may suggest action against the guilty, which may include counselling, caution letter, withholding of promotion, termination or even referring the case to law enforcing agency, depending on the gravity of the case.

    1.6 INTERIM REDRESSAL

    BITSoM may:

    1. transfer the complainant or the respondent to another section or department to minimize the risks involved in contact or interaction, if such a recommendation is made by the CASH
    2. grant leave to the aggrieved with full protection of status and benefits for a period up to three months
    3. restrain the respondent from reporting on or evaluating the work or performance or tests or examinations of the complainant
    4. ensure that offenders are warned to keep a distance from the aggrieved, and wherever necessary, if there is a definite threat, restrain their entry into campus
    5. take strict measures to provide a conducive environment of safety and protection to the complainant against retaliation and victimization as a consequence of making a complaint of sexual harassment

    1.7 CONFIDENTIALITY

    Every attempt will be made to protect the confidentiality of the alleged victim and the alleged harasser. 

  4. AMENDMENTS

    These Rules may be revised and amended from time to time on the basis of court judgements and revision in other applicable laws, rules and regulations. Rules may also be amended through feedback and suggestions from members of BITSoM. As and when amendments are made, all members of the BITSoM community will be informed.