Counselling Services Identifying and Preventing Harassment at the Workplace

Identifying and Preventing Harassment at the Workplace

An Overview:

Over the years NUST has grown into a comprehensive and internationally acclaimed institution of higher learning. Among the many vital components forming its bedrock, a prominent one has been in maintaining a dignified and professionally conducive environment for its students and employees arising from mutual respect, tolerance and the will to attain the best.

In the aforementioned context, NUST instituted a policy on the subject which is also displayed on the NUST website since 2011. All new faculty/staff and students are apprised of this facility upon joining NUST. However, it has been observed that these traditions, at some instances, are not being upheld or fully understood. Therefore, a need was felt to reiterate the salients of the policy and encourage all community members to help us in maintaining a conducive environment best suited for academic endeavours. As per the policy statement, a few salients as to what constitutes Harassment are as under:

    a.   Any unwelcome verbal or written advance, or request for sexual favours.
    b.   Obscene communication in any media including social networking channels
          (Cyber harassment)
    c.   Persistent following or stalking
    d.   Offensive and suggestive name calling / jokes / pictures
    e.   Unwanted physical contact or remarks
    f.    Demeaning attitude causing interference with work performance or creating a
          hostile or offensive work environment.
    g.   Threatening or attempting to punish the complainant for refusal to comply with
          such a request etc.

The procedure for lodging complaints can be accessed through CMS, NUST webpage or C3A link. While taking another step towards ensuring easy facilitation of complaints of the female population, a female faculty has been nominated as a focal person at each constituent, school/college.

Considering the sensitivity of the subject, all concerned in the chain are to ensure that the details of the complaint are kept confidential and shared with relevant authorities as per requirement and urgency.

It may also be emphasized that even though NUST strives to foster a safe and secure environment for its fraternity, caution is advised against lodging false complaints or misusing the provision for ‘willfully’ defaming any individual in order to mar his/her respect and dignity. Persons found to be making such complaints will be severely dealt with and would be liable to necessary punitive action.