[THE PROTECTION AGAINST HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT THE
WORKPLACE ACT 2010]
Acts, Ordinance, President’s Orders and Regulations
Islamabad, the 11
No. F. 9 (5)/2009- Legis.__ The following Acts of Majlis-e-Shoora
(Parliament) received the assent of the President on 9
March, 2010, are hereby
published for general information:__
Act No. IV
An Act to make provisions for the protection against harassment of women at the
WHEREAS the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan recognizes the
fundamental rights of citizens to dignity of person;
AND WHEREAS it is expedient to make this provision for the protection of
women from harassment at the workplace;
It is hereby enacted as follows:
Short title, extent and commencement. - (1) This Act may be called the
Protection against Harassment of women at the Workplace Act, 2010.
It extends to the whole of Pakistan.
It shall come into force at once.
In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or
“accused” means an employee or employer of an organization against
whom complaint has been made under this Act;
“CBA” means Collective Bargaining Agent as provided in the Industrial
Relations Act 2008,( IV of 2008) or any other law for the time being in
“Code” means the Code of Conduct as mentioned in the Schedule to this
“Competent Authority” means the authority as may be designated by the
management for the purposes of this Act;
“Complainant” means a woman or man who has made a complaint to the
Ombudsman or to the Inquiry Committee on being aggrieved by an act of
“Employee” means a regular or contractual employee whether employed
on daily, weekly, or monthly or hourly basis, and includes an intern or an
“Employer” in relation to an organization, means any person or body of
persons whether incorporated or not, who or which employs workers in an
organization under a contract of employment or in any other manner
whosoever and includes –
an heir, successor or assign, as the case may be, of such person or,
body as aforesaid;
any person responsible for the direction, administration,
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management and control of the management;
the authority, in relation of an organization or a group of
organization run by or under the authority of any Ministry or
department of the Federal Government or a Provincial government,
appointed in this behalf or, where no authority is appointed, the
head of the Ministry or department as the case may be;
the office bearer, in relation to an organization run by or on behalf
of the local authority, appointed in this behalf, or where no officer
is so appointed, the chief executive officer bearer of that authority;
the proprietor, in relation to any other organization, of such
organization and every director, manager, secretary, agent or office
bearer or person concerned with the management of the affairs
a contractor or an organization of a contractor who or which
undertakes to procure the labour or services of employees for use
by another person or in another organization for any purpose
whatsoever and for payment in any form and on any basis
office bearers of a department of a Division of a Federal or a
Provincial or local authority who belong to the managerial,
secretarial or directional cadre or categories of supervisors or
agents and those who have been notified for this purpose in the
harassment” means any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual
favors or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a
sexual nature or sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with
work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work
environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for refusal to
comply to such a request or is made a condition for employment;
“Inquiry Committee” means the Inquiry Committee established under
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sub-section (1) of section 3;
“management” means a person or body of persons responsible for the
management of the affairs of an organization and includes an employer;
“Ombudsman” means the Ombudsman appointed under section 7
“organization” means a Federal or Provincial Government Ministry,
Division or department, a corporation or any autonomous or semi-
autonomous body, Educational Institutes, Medical facilities established or
controlled by the Federal or Provincial Government or District
Government or registered civil society associations or privately managed a
commercial or an industrial establishment or institution, a company as
defined in the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (XLVII of 1984) and includes
any other registered private sector organization or institution;
“Schedule” means Schedule annexed to this Act;
“workplace” means the place of work or the premises where an
organization or employer operates and includes building, factory, open
area or a larger geographical area where the activities of the organization
or of employer are carried out and including any situation that is linked to
official work or official activity outside the office.
Inquiry Committee. – (1) Each organization shall constitute an Inquiry
Committee within thirty days of the enactment of this Act to enquire into
complaints under this Act.
(2) The Committee shall consist of three members of whom at least one member
shall be a woman. One member shall be from senior management and one shall be a
senior representative of the employees or a senior employee where there is no CBA.
One or more members can be co-opted from outside the organization if the
organization is unable to designate three members from within as described above. A
Chairperson shall be designated from amongst them.
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(3) In case a complaint is made against one of the members of the Inquiry Committee
that member should be replaced by another for that particular case. Such member may be
from within or outside the organization.
In case where no competent authority is designated the organization shall within
thirty days of the enactment of this Act designate a competent authority
Procedure for holding inquiry.– (1) The Inquiry Committee, within three days
of receipt of a written complaint, shall–
communicate to the accused the charges and statement of allegations
leveled against him, the formal written receipt of which will be given;
require the accused within seven days from the day the charge is
communicated to him to submit a written defense and on his failure to do
so without reasonable cause, the Committee shall proceed ex-parte; and
enquire into the charge and may examine such oral or documentary
evidence in support of the charge or in defense of the accused as the
Committee may consider necessary and each party shall be entitled to
cross-examine the witnesses against him.
Subject to the provisions of this Act and any rules made thereunder the
Inquiry Committee shall have power to regulate its own procedure for conducting inquiry
and for the fixing place and time of its sitting.
The following provisions inter alia shall be followed by the Committee in
relation to inquiry:
The statements and other evidence acquired in the inquiry process
shall be considered as confidential;
An officer in an organization, if considered necessary, may be
nominated to provide advice and assistance to each party;
Both parties, the complainant and the accused, shall have the right
to be represented or accompanied by a Collective Bargaining
Agent representative, a friend or a colleague;
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Adverse action shall not be taken against the complainant or the
The inquiry Committee shall ensure that the employer or accused
shall in no case create any hostile environment for the complainant
so as to pressurize her from freely pursuing her complaint; and
The Inquiry Committee shall give its findings in writing by
recording reasons thereof.
The Inquiry Committee shall submit its findings and recommendations to
the Competent Authority within thirty days of the initiation of inquiry. If the Inquiry
Committee finds the accused to be guilty it shall recommend to the Competent Authority
for imposing one or more of the following penalties:
withholding, for a specific period, promotion or increment;
stoppage, for a specific period, at an efficiency bar in the
time-scale, otherwise than for unfitness to cross such bar; and
recovery of the compensation payable to the complainant from
pay or any other source of the accused;
reduction to a lower post or time-scale, or to a lower stage in a
removal from service;
dismissal from service; and
Fine. A part of the fine can be used as compensation for the
complainant. In case of the owner, the fine shall be payable to the
The Competent Authority shall impose the penalty recommended by the
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Inquiry Committee under sub-section (4) within one week of the receipt of the
recommendations of the Inquiry Committee
The Inquiry Committee shall meet on regular basis and monitor the
situation regularly until they are satisfied that their recommendations subject to decision,
if any of Competent Authority and Appellate Authority have been implemented.
In case the complainant is in trauma the organization will arrange for
psycho-social counseling or medical treatment and for additional medical leave.
The organization may also offer compensation to the complainant in case
of loss of salary or other damages.
Powers of the Inquiry Committee. – (1) The Inquiry Committee shall have
to summon and enforce attendance of any person and examine him on
to require the discovery and production of any document;
to receive evidence on affidavits; and
to record evidence.
The Inquiry Committee shall have the power to inquire into the matters of
harassment under this Act, to get the complainant or the accused medically examined by
an authorized doctor, if necessary, and may recommend appropriate penalty against the
accused within the meaning of sub-section (4) of section 4.
The Inquiry Committee may recommend to Ombudsman for appropriate
action against the complainant if allegations leveled against the accused found to be false
and made with mala fide intentions.
The Inquiry Committee can instruct to treat the proceedings confidential.
Appeal against minor and major penalties.– (1) Any party aggrieved by
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decision of the Competent Authority on whom minor or major penalty is imposed may
within thirty days of written communication of decision prefer an appeal to an
Ombudsman established under section 7 .
A complainant aggrieved by the decision of the Competent Authority may
also prefer appeal within thirty days of the decision to the Ombudsman.
The Appellate Authority may, on consideration of the appeal and any
other relevant material, confirm, set aside, vary or modify the decision within thirty days
in respect of which such appeal is made. It shall communicate the decision to both the
parties and the employer.
Until such a time that the ombudsman is appointed the District Court shall have
the jurisdiction to hear appeals against the decisions of Competent Authority and the provisions
of sub-sections (1) to (3) shall mutatis mutandis apply
On the appointment of Ombudsman all appeals pending before the District Court
shall stand transferred to Ombudsman who may proceed with the case from the stage at which it
was pending immediately before such transfer.
Ombudsman:- (1) The respective Governments shall appoint an ombudsman at
the Federal and provincial levels.
(2) A person shall be qualified to be appointed as an Ombudsman who has been a judge
of high court or qualified to be appointed as a judge of high court. The Ombudsman may
recruit such staff as required to achieve the purposes of this Act and the finances will be
provided by the respective Governments
Ombudsman to enquire into complaint.- (1) Any employee shall have the
option to prefer a complaint either to the Ombudsman or the Inquiry Committee. ‘
(2) The Ombudsman shall within 3 days of receiving a complaint issue a written show cause
notice to the accused. The accused after the receipt of written notice, shall submit written
defense to the Ombudsman within five days and his failure to do so without reasonable
cause the Ombudsman may proceed ex parte. Both the parties can represent themselves
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before the Ombudsman.
(3)The Ombudsman shall conduct an inquiry into the matter according to the rules made
under this Act and conduct proceedings as the Ombudsman deems proper.
(4) For the purposes of an investigation under this Act, the Ombudsman may require any
office or member of an organization concerned to furnish any information or to produce
any document which in the opinion of the Ombudsman is relevant and helpful in the
conduct of the investigation.
(5) The Ombudsman shall record his decision and inform both parties and the management
of the concerned organization for implementation of the orders.
9. Representation to President or Governor:- Any person aggrieved by a decision of
Ombudsman under sub- section (5) of section 8, may, within thirty days of decision, make a
representation to the President or Governor, as the case may be, who may pass such order thereon
as he may deem fit.
Powers of the Ombudsman
The Ombudsman shall for the purpose of this Act have the same powers as are vested in a
Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedures, 1908 (Act V of 1908), in respect of the
following matters, namely:
Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and
examining him on oath;
Compelling the production of evidence;
Receiving evidence on affidavits;
Issuing commission for the examination of witnesses
entering any premises for the purpose of making any inspection or
investigation, enter any premises where the Ombudsman has a
reason to believe that any information relevant to the case may be
The Ombudsman shall have the same powers as the High Court
has to punish any person for its contempt.
(2) Ombudsman shall while making the decision on the complaint may impose any of the
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minor or major penalties specified in sub- section (4) of section 4.
(1) It shall be the responsibility of the employer to
ensure implementation of this Act, including but not limited to incorporate the Code of
Conduct for protection against harassment at the workplace as a part of their
management policy and to form Inquiry Committee referred to in section 3 and designate
a competent authority referred to in section 4.
(2) The management shall display copies of the Code in English as well as in
language understood by the majority of employees at conspicuous place in the
organization and the work place within six months of the commencement of this Act.
On failure of an employer to comply with the provisions of this section
any employee of an organization may file a petition before the District Court and on
having been found guilty the employer shall be liable to fine which may extend to one
hundred thousand rupees but shall not be less than twenty-five thousand rupees.
Provisions of the Act in addition to and not in derogation of any other law.–
The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other law
for the time being in force.
Power to make rules.-The Federal Government may make rules to
carryout the purposes of this Act.
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