Policy Statement

At Providence India (‘PGC’), we are committed towards creating a safe and healthy environment that promotes a sense of participation in all our caregivers. There is no doubt that all our caregivers are competent, motivated to achieve their goals and are professionals of the highest grade. Treating each other with respect and dignity are our key values at PGC and we expect everyone to promote a sense of personal responsibility towards each other.

We believe, that our growth is directly related to the growth of our people, which is only possible if every individual is provided equal opportunities to showcase their skills and capacity and participate in career building activities. In order for us to achieve success together, we must strive towards providing support to each other in their respective professional journeys, respect each other values and privacy. At PGC, we have zero tolerance for harassment, intimidation or humiliation of a sexual nature and we are committed towards enactment, observance and adherence of guidelines and best practices that prevent and prosecute acts of sexual harassment.

What amounts to sexual harassment at workplace?

Sexual Harassment means any unwelcome act or behavior of sexual nature, whether direct or by implication.

A. Physical contact and advances include:

  • Intentional objectionable physical proximity or contact
  • Touching, grabbing, pinching, fondling, brushing one’s body against another
  • or
  • Any other conduct that is unwelcome and of sexual nature

B. Demands/ request for sexual favors include:

  • Using one’s authority or rapport with another to create pressure for providing sexual favors, or in exchange of promises relating to better work conditions, promotions and other benefits or
  • Making unwelcome requests for such favors, suggestions regarding, or invitations to, social events or activities

C. Making sexually colored remarks include:

  • Discussion of a person's physical characteristics or dressing
  • Making direct or indirect sexually suggestive comments, threats, sexual propositions.
  • Telling offensive jokes, sexually explicit stories or
  • Using offensive language or demeaning terms

D. Showing pornography includes:

  • Circulation/posting of offensive cartoons or pictures or pornography or
  • Display of other pornographic material such catalogues of a sexual nature, sexual messages or images sent via text/e-mails

E. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature includes:

  • Leering or staring at another’s body
  • Making sexual gestures or
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature apart from those listed above that qualify as sexually offensive by reasonable perception of the recipient and common discretion
  • Sexual Harassment may occur as a single incident or a series of incidents
  • Sexual Harassment includes same sex harassment
  • Sexual Harassment may be of 2 (two) types:
  • All business locations of PGC. This includes all offices or other premises where the business of PGC is conducted
  • All locations visited by a Caregiver, arising out of or during the course of their employment with PGC such as business locations of other companies/entities, guest houses etc.
  • All locations visited by a Caregiver for the purpose of attending a conference, party, casual gathering, offsite, casual/official dinners or any event of social nature organized by PGC and attended by the Caregiver out of or during the course of their employment with PGC
  • Any mode of transport provided by PGC for undertaking a journey to and from the aforementioned locations
  • Aggrieved Caregiver’ means a Caregiver who alleges to have been subjected to any act of Sexual Harassment by the Respondent
  • Complainant’ means include Aggrieved Caregiver or any other person filing the
  • Complaint on behalf of the Aggrieved Caregiver
  • Complaint’ means information, either oral or written, made by the Aggrieved Caregiver/ Complainant. However, Complaint made orally must be reduced in writing with the assistance of the Internal Committee members
  • Caregiver’ means a person employed with PGC for any work on permanent, deputation, temporary, consultants, part time, ad hoc or daily wages basis, either directly or through an agent including a contractor, with or without the knowledge of principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes a co-worker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or called by any other such name
  • Incident’ means an incident of Sexual Harassment as defined in this Policy
  • ‘PGC’ means Providence Global Centre LLP
  • ‘Respondent’ means a person against whom the Complainant has made a complaint

WHO is responsible for enforcing this policy??

Caregivers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the key elements of the policy and should:

  • Not commit any acts which amount to Sexual Harassment at the workplace
  • Report incidents of Sexual Harassment without fear
  • Create an environment of conduciveness for co-workers to work together without fear of harassment
  • Support and assist in implementation of any disciplinary action against another Caregiver in terms of this policy and
  • Ask the HR whenever in doubt

At PGC, we have set up an internal complaints committee (‘IC’) that will ensure the effective implementation of this Policy.

The members of PGC have been selected based on the following criteria:

  • A woman caregiver at a senior level at PGC has been designated as the Presiding Member of the IC
  • Two members, from amongst the caregivers at PGC, who are committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have a legal knowledge have been designated as members of the IC and
  • One external member, from amongst non-governmental organization or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment has been designated as an external member of the IC
  • Each member of the IC will hold office for such period not exceeding 3 (three) years
  • Changes in the constitution of the IC, whenever necessary, shall be made as expeditiously as possible and in any case within 15 days of the date of vacancy of office by one of the members

IC Members at Providence India:

  • Vasudha Bommireddy – Presiding Officer
  • Vaidyanathan Krishnan - Member
  • Aman Gupta - Member
  • Anitha Vittal - Member
  • Preethi Ramnarayan – Member
  • Srividya Sriram – External Member

The above members can be contacted directly or can also be reached at InternalComplaintsCommittee@providence.org

What are the functions of the IC?

In order to ensure the effective enforcement of this Policy, the IC will undertake the following responsibilities:

  • The IC will be responsible for redressal of Complaints against Sexual Harassment
  • The IC will investigate every Complaint of Sexual Harassment and provide appropriate relief to any substantiated allegations of Sexual Harassment
  • The IC will facilitate the organization of awareness programs, workshops to sensitize the Caregivers with the provisions of this Policy and applicable laws so as to create a comfortable and welcoming environment, free from sexual abuse or bias. These workshops will be held annually for the benefit of all Caregivers. Additionally, a session for all new appointees will be done within 30 days of their appointment with PGC

How to make a complaint against sexual harassment?

An Aggrieved Caregiver can reach out to any member of the IC to make a Complaint against Sexual Harassment. All Complaints will be treated with utmost confidentiality and will be heard in detail by the IC.

The Complaint may be filed by an Aggrieved Caregiver or by a friend, coworker or relative of the Aggrieved Caregiver or any other person who has knowledge of the Incident or was a witness to the Incident (with the consent of the Aggrieved Caregiver).

How to make a complaint?

A written complaint may be filed by sending an email to the Internal committee at InternalComplaintsCommittee@providence.org or to any of the IC Members. In the event that the Complainant is unable to make a Complaint in writing themselves, he/ she may contact the IC for assistance. The Complaint should be supported by documents, names and addresses of witnesses and other relevant evidence.

When to make the complaint?

The Complainant should endeavor to make the Complaint as soon as the Incident occurs. In any case, the Complaint should be made within 3 (three) months from the date of the Incident. This time period may be extended by the IC if the Complainant is able to justify the reason for delay.

Conciliation Proceedings

  • At the first hearing of the Complaint, the IC shall examine the Complaint and the reply field by the Respondent in detail. Thereafter, the IC may, before initiating an enquiry and at the request of the Complainant, take steps to settle the matter between the Complainant and the Respondent through conciliation, provided that monetary settlement is not a basis of conciliation
  • In case both the Complainant and the Respondent are willing to settle, and a settlement is arrived at, the IC will record the settlement and report the same to the Management of PGC for taking appropriate action. The IC will provide copies of the settlement to Complainant and Respondent. Once the appropriate action in respect of the settlement is implemented by the Management, no further inquiry will be conducted

Inquiry into the complaint

Initiation of inquiry

An inquiry into the complaint will be initiated by the IC in the following cases:

  • The Complainant does not make a request for conciliation
  • The conciliation proceedings failed and did not result in any settlement or
  • The Complainant informs the IC that the Respondent did not comply with one or more terms/conditions of the settlement arrived through conciliation

Manner of inquiry into complaint

  • The IC will provide a reasonable opportunity to the Complainant and the Respondent for putting forward and defending their respective cases and ensure
  • That the Complainant and the Respondent have full opportunity to present their claims, witnesses and evidence which may establish or substantiate their claims
  • The IC will conduct interviews of the Complainant and the Respondent and take detailed notes of their statements. If requested, the IC will share the detailed notes of the meetings with the parties
  • The IC will also conduct detailed interviews and make a note of the statements of the witnesses produced by the Complainant and the Respondent
  • The Complainant and the Respondent may cross-examine any witnesses before the IC
  • The Complainant and the Respondent may, during the course of inquiry, be given a copy of the findings of the IC enabling them to make representation against the findings before the IC
  • The Complainant, Respondent or any other person may be present for the hearings before the IC by way of a teleconference or video conference, provided that prior intimation to this effect is given to the IC. The person using teleconference or video conference means will be bound by strict confidentiality and will not be permitted to discuss the IC proceedings with any third person
  • The IC will act an independent and an unbiased body. The IC will investigate all complaints of Sexual Harassment in a fair, reasonable and time-bound manner in a neutral environment. The IC will conduct the inquiry in accordance with principles of natural justice and will exercise the following powers while making the inquiry:
  • Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining them on oath
  • Enquiring the discovery and production of documents and
  • Any other powers, as may be prescribed under applicable laws
  • The IC will ensure that the contents of the Complaint, the identity and addresses of the Complainant, Respondent and witnesses, or any information relating to conciliation and inquiry proceedings, recommendations of the IC and the action taken by the Management will not be published, communicated or made known to the public, press and media in any manner
  • While preparing the findings/recommendations, the IC will consider the nature of the conduct complained of, the nexus between the allegations and the evidence, the credibility of Complainant, Respondent, witnesses and evidence, previous Complaints against the Respondent (if any) and other factors as may be necessary in the interest of justice
  • The IC will complete the inquiry of a Complaint and prepare and submit its inquiry report to the Management within a period of 90 (ninety) days from the date of filing of the complaint
  • In the event that the Complainant or the Respondent fail to be present for 3 (three) consecutive hearings, the IC will give a notice of 15 (fifteen) days to the concerned party before terminating the inquiry proceedings or giving an ex-parte decision on the complaint
  • In conducting the inquiry, a minimum of three IC members including the Presiding Officer will always be present
  • No legal practitioner can represent any party at any stage of the inquiry procedure

Actions during the pendency of inquiry

During the pendency of the inquiry, on written request made by the Complainant, the IC, may recommend the implementation of the following interim measures to the Management:

  • Transfer of the Complainant/Aggrieved Caregiver or the Respondent to any other workplace or
  • Grant of leave to the Aggrieved Caregiver up to a period of three months (over and above entitlement) or
  • Restraining the Respondent from reporting on the work performance of the Aggrieved Caregiver and assigning the same to another senior Caregiver
  • The Management will implement the recommendations of the IC and send the report of such implementation to the IC

Action after the inquiry – complaint unsubstantiated

Where the IC arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the Respondent has not been proved, it will recommend to the Management that no action is required be taken in the matter. The IC will ensure that both parties understand that the matter has been fully investigated and that neither will be disadvantaged at PGC and there will be no retaliation against either party by anyone, as a result of raising the Complaint.

Action after the inquiry – complaint substantiated

Where the IC arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the Respondent has been proved, the IC will, within its report provide recommendations to the Management and the Management will take action and implement the recommendations of the IC within 60 (sixty) days of receiving the report from the IC.

  • The IC may also recommend payment of monetary compensation to the Aggrieved Caregiver by way of deduction of an amount that it may consider appropriate and in accordance with applicable laws, from the salary, fees or wages of the Respondent
  • Upon the implementation of the actions against the Respondent being found guilty, the IC will require the Manager/HR of PGC to follow up with the Complainant to ascertain whether the behavior complained of has ceased and whether the action implemented is working satisfactorily

Appeal against the decision of IC

The Complainant or the Respondent may appeal to the appropriate appellate authority in accordance with applicable laws if they are not satisfied or further aggrieved by the implementation/non-implementation of recommendations made by the IC. An appeal is required to be made within 90 (ninety) days from the date when the recommendations of the IC are communicated.

Treatment of malicious Complaints

In the event that the IC arrives at the conclusion that the Complaint against the Respondent is malicious or the Aggrieved Caregiver/Complainant has made the Complaint knowing it to be false or the Aggrieved Caregiver/Complainant has produced any forged or misleading document; then the IC may recommend to the Management to take action against the Aggrieved Caregiver/Complainant.

While deciding malicious intent behind a Complaint, the IC will consider that mere inability to substantiate a complaint may not imply malicious intent. Malicious intent must always be clearly established through a separate inquiry.

Protection against victimization

The IC may recommend the following measures to protect the Complainant/Respondent or witness against victimization:

  • If the Respondent is the Complainant’s Supervisor/ Superior, the Management will ensure that the reporting relationship is suspended, during the pendency of the complaint and after the Respondent is found guilty. The Management will ensure that the Complainant is not subject to appraisal by the Respondent
  • A Respondent, who is an outsider, if found guilty, will not be allowed to enter the premises of PGC
  • At PGC, any sort of retaliation against the Complainant, Respondent or any witnesses is strictly prohibited. Any act of reprisal, including internal interference, coercion and restraint, by any Caregiver, whether directly or indirectly, will result in appropriate action against such Caregiver by the Management in consultation with the IC

Confidentiality and penalty for violation

  • All persons relating to a specific Complaint, including Aggrieved Caregiver, the Respondent, witness will maintain strict confidentiality throughout and after the inquiry process to the extent practicable and appropriate under the circumstances
  • All records of Complaints, including contents of meetings, results of investigations and other relevant material will be kept confidential by the IC and the Management at PGC, except where disclosure is required under applicable laws, disciplinary or other remedial processes
  • The identity, address of any person involved in Sexual Harassment, report, recommendation or any other information relating to a Complaint will not be published, communicated or make know to the public, press and media in any manner
  • Violation of the provisions of confidentiality shall be punishable with imposition of penalty of INR 5000

Modifications and review of the Policy

PGC reserves the right to modify/review the provisions of this Policy, so as to comply with applicable legal requirements, internal policies, or otherwise with a view to revise the provisions of this Policy to the extent deemed necessary by PGC from time to time. Any such changes or modifications will be notified to the caregivers at PGC.