Indian Workplace Mental Harassment Complaint

The productivity of employees who trust their employers increases exponentially when they trust them. If you make your employees happy, clients will be satisfied. This is the power of a great work culture. This is a common myth in many workplaces, particularly the corporate sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the risk to job security. This brought about an era in which even though there were pay cuts and endless hours of working at home, employers still had the nerve to intimidate employees into feeling grateful to have a job in such uncertain times. These traumatic experiences can lead to a decline in physical and mental health, hindering their professional and personal lives. What can be done to end such toxic workplaces and bosses? Let’s learn how to file a complaint against harassment at work in India.

What is Mental Harassment at Work?

It is better to understand the problem’s root cause before attempting to solve it. Harassment can be described as an unwanted action that causes humiliation to another person. While sexual harassment is well-known and covered by the law, mental harassment is a topic that is seldom discussed. Mental harassment can be expressed in words, actions, or gestures that are annoying, alarming, and embarrassing to another person. Below are some examples:

Remarks about race, caste, sex, and religion.

Comment about the age of an employee.

Inflicting wrongful damage on the reputation of an employee at work by defaming them

Negative comments about other political beliefs

Commentary on sexual orientation

Overwork efforts, it is not okay to degrade someone.

Belittling an employee to obtain marital status

Sexual remarks

Non-payment bonus wages


Targeted for no reason

Bullying/ unexplained shouting for mistakes without any guidance

Hostile workplace

Insulting a senior employee before juniors or coworkers

Separate an employee and group the rest.

Non-compliance with the terms of the appointment agreement regardless of whether they relate to the salary, work hours, or position offered

Unfair clauses in the employment contract

While instances of workplace harassment by bosses or coworkers are not uncommon, these are typical behaviors that can lead to employees becoming depressed due to toxic work environments.

Can we file a complaint for mental harassment?

Mental health in India is often overlooked and taken lightly. This leads to the highest number of suicides in India. It is high time people started talking about workplace harassment and helping victims. It is crucial to speak out if you have been subjected to or are being affected by mental harassment at work. It is essential to be familiar with the laws against workplace harassment. You can find the source of workplace harassment laws in the state or central legislation, or the office manual. It is better to express your discomfort than keep silent if you feel uncomfortable at work.

Workplace Mental Harassment Law

An establishment or company that employs many employees must comply with specific statutory requirements. This compliance ensures that employees receive timely wages, actual work hours, bonuses, and insurance. The benefits for employees will vary based on the type of establishment they work in. The Constitution of India, 1950, guarantees certain rights to employees, including the right to the fundamental dignity of an individual, through Articles 14, 15, 19, 21, 39A, and others. Notably, Article 39A upholds equal pay. Below are other important provisions regarding workplace harassment.

Company Policy – All corporate organizations have a policy on how employees can escalate grievances. It is essential to read the policy and understand the steps to take if an employee experiences a toxic work environment.

1936 Payment of Wages Act – If an employer takes an unexplained amount off your salary, this Act can greatly assist in obtaining relief.

Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013) – This Act penalizes any unwanted act or behavior at work that is sexually explicit, or indirect. Sexual harassment can eventually lead to mental harassment, adversely affecting the victim’s mental and physical health. This law does not protect men. This means that men who are subject to workplace sexual harassment cannot seek relief under the Act.

IPC Sections on Mental Harassment at Workplace. There are no provisions in the Indian Penal Code 1860 that directly address workplace harassment. If the acts are similar, employees can invoke other IPC sections. Section 499 (defamation), for example, punishes slander and libel by words spoken or written, gestures, or other means. There are provisions for punishing injury and grievous harm depending on the severity of the injury. The sections 354, 509 and 509 specifically address acts that may cause a woman to lose her modesty. Section 504 is a criminal offense for intentionally using abusive language towards another person. Criminal intimidation is punishable under Section 506 of this Act.

1961 Maternity Benefits Act – The Act protects employment of women who are pregnant or have recently had an abortion or miscarriage.

1995 Persons with Disabilities Act (Equal Opportunities Protection Rights and Full Participation) – This Act prohibits discrimination against employees who are disabled. It encourages equality in order to reduce workplace harassment of persons with disabilities.

Industrial Disputes Act 1947 – Employee termination by layoffs or retrenchment is regulated under this Act. This Act provides employees with safety through a notice period ranging between 30 and 90 days.

Case Law – In the case of Consumer Education and Research Centre [1] the Hon’ble Supreme Court ruled that “Rights to Life” includes the protection of the health and power of workers. This is the minimum requirement for a person to live with dignity.

What can I do about mental harassment at work?

Everyone is now familiar with the Indian law on mental harassment at work. According to the organization’s rules and regulations, a person must report any mental harassment at work by their boss or coworkers. The Human Resources department can usually assist with a complaint letter regarding workplace mental harassment. Corporate lawyers in India can assist victims if there is no resolution to the matter. How do I address a mental harassment complaint to HR? It should address the correct personnel and include all details about the repeated incident.

In the case of serious offenses, it could be a complaint about mental harassment to police. Police may become involved if the provisions of the Indian Penal Code 1860 are invoked. The magistrate must be contacted if the police are lenient and fail to register a complaint.

Complaints can be made to the labor commissioners if any rights are violated.

What is the punishment for mental harassment?

Workplace harassment can be punished differently. It all depends on the nature of the harassment and the extent of the victim’s impact. IPC sections regarding workplace harassment may result in a boss or coworker being sent to prison. Before you file a complaint against the police for mental harassment, it is advisable to consult with a Kolkata criminal lawyer. The only way to resolve the matter is by imposing a fine on the employer for workplace harassment.

Harassment at the Workplace: Peroration

People have different answers to the question, “What is mental harassment at work?” One person may dismiss sexual comments as jokes and continue on while another may become depressed or have suicidal thoughts. Before you speak out against another person, it is important to weigh the consequences. You don’t have to make someone work for you. They are not your slave. When we treat others working for the same organization with respect and dignity, compassion can help to end workplace harassment. Employers should have strict policies against workplace harassment by coworkers or bosses. Employers should address complaints of workplace harassment with care and weigh both sides.

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