Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010

According to the 2010 law, sexual harassment manifests itself at a workplace in following three ways:

    1. Abuse of authority

      Demand of sexual favors by a person in authority; a supervisor, a person in higher management, employer, and making it a condition of obtaining certain job benefits which may include:

      • Wage increase
      • Promotion (to a higher grade)
      • Training opportunity (within or outside the country)
      • Transfer (to another place, department etc)
      • Job itself
    2. Creation of Hostile Working Environment

      Any unwelcome advances, request for sexual favor, other verbal or physical conduct, interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates a hostile and intimidating work environment. If the victim refuses to grant sexual favors, the perpetrator can retaliate in the following ways:

      • Limiting an employee’s options for training, future promotion
      • Distorting the evaluation (annual confidential reports)
      • Generating gossip against the employee
      • Limiting access to his/her rights (right to complain, right to work with dignity, right to promotions, wage increases etc)

Punishments under this law

If you lodged complaint within your organization i.e. to inquiry committee, the following two types of punishments can be given to the guilty person. The competent authority can impose one or more of the following penalties on recommendations of inquiry committee.

Minor Penalties

  1. Censure
  2. Withholding increment or promotion, for a specific period of time
  3. Stopping at an efficiency bar in timescale, for a specific period of time
  4. Recovering compensation from pay or any other source of guilty person (this compensation has to be paid to victim)

Major Penalties

  1. Reduction to a lower post or lower time­scale
  2. Compulsory retirement
  3. Dismissal from service (it disqualifies for re­employment)
  4. Removal from service
  5. Fine

If a complaint has been filed directly to the Police, the convict can be imprisoned for a maximum term of 3 years, or fined with a maximum sum of PKR 5 Lakh or both.

Amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code, Section 509

In 2010, The Government of Pakistan not only passed a specific law for preventing sexual harassment at the workplace but also amended Section 509 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). After the amendment, it clearly defines harassment and includes harassment at workplace as well. It has also raised the maximum punishment for perpetrator from one to three years. Now, the amendment states that insulting the modesty of women or sexually harassing them is a crime. The perpetrator of this crime may be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to 3 years or fine up to PKR 500,000 (5 lakh) or with both. However, this crime is still bailable and compoundable (parties can settle the case between themselves even when matter is in the court, after permission of the court).