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Misunderstandings With Male Superior At Workplace Do Not Constitute Sexual Harassment: Madras High Court

[30 August 2021]

Setting aside Tamil Nadu Women’s Commission order directing Loyola College Society to pay Rs. 64.3 lakh to a terminated female employee who had levelled sexual harassment charges against a former principal, the Madras High Court on Wednesday ruled that personal feud, misunderstandings and not getting along with a male colleague would not constitute sexual harassment. Justice N. Satish Kumar observed that no case of sexual harassment has been made out as per the provisions of the Section 3 of the the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and accordingly opined, “Without showing any instances leading to sexual harassment merely on the basis of some misunderstandings in the work place between superior and thereafter she was changed to some other post in a consolidate pay, every such instance cannot be termed as sexual harassment…such misunderstandings or happening in the work place cannot be classified as sexual harassment”. The Court also observed that the main allegation of sexual harassment appears to have been an ‘after thought’ as the instant plea had been filed after more than one and a half years from the date of the alleged incident of sexual harassment.

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