Harassment at workplaces: Online complaint system launched

Updated 14 Nov 2013

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Approximately 70 per cent of women who have faced sexual harassment did not want to file a complaint, specifically due to the complicated and inconvenient system. -Photo by AP
Approximately 70 per cent of women who have faced sexual harassment did not want to file a complaint, specifically due to the complicated and inconvenient system. -Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: A majority of the working women face harassment at workplaces due to which their productivity and participation in the mainstream economy is badly affected.

Approximately 70 per cent of women who have faced sexual harassment did not want to file a complaint, specifically due to the complicated and inconvenient system.

This was stated at the inauguration of an ‘online complaint system’ about harassment at workplaces.

The system has been launched by the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat (FOS) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s gender equality for decent employment project funded by the Canadian government.

The participants were informed that according to a survey conducted in public-private organisations, a majority of working women suffered sexual harassment at workplaces but they did not lodge complaints.

In order to simplify the process, FOS with the support of the ILO established the grievance redressal system consisting of a website of online complaints both in English and Urdu, and an SMS tracking system.

The chair of the event, Justice (retired) Yasmeen Abbasi, on the occasion said the unique initiative would facilitate in speeding up the process of launching complaint about the harassment at workplace and provide a greater outreach to the FOS in enabling the affected people.

Regional Director ILO Asia-Pacific region Yoshiteru Uramoto said it was an excellent example of gender responsive public service delivery and developing institutional mechanisms.

“I look forward that this system will become stronger and better over the years and contribute to a safe and decent working environment for women and men,” he said.

ILO Country Director Francesco d’Ovidio expressed his concern on the workplace harassment and emphasised the role of the government, employers, trade unions and the civil society to promote a zero tolerance for instances of harassment at workplaces.

Deputy Director Communications FOS Shahrukh Abbasi said in the past women had to face a complicated system to lodge a complaint against work harassment.

“Especially, in the provinces, the complainant had to go to the provincial capital to lodge a complaint which was almost impossible for them. Now the complainant can lodge the complaint directly on the website of FOS in both Urdu and English languages,” he said.