On-demand convenience digital platform Swiggy on Wednesday said it has introduced a sexual harassment redressal policy for its women delivery executives, who are otherwise not covered under the ambit of Indian laws for the prevention of such incidents at workplaces.
Under the policy, apart from supporting the women delivery executives in filing police complaints, in case of harassment by a customer, after the completion of an initial investigation, no other female delivery executive would be assigned to the same customer with the contact number highlighted, even if the customer changes location, the company said in a blog post.
“Through the sexual harassment redressal policy, we are taking a proactive step in building awareness and accountability among various stakeholders in the community,” Swiggy Head of Operations Mihir Shah said. Further, he said, “We believe these efforts will stop incidents from happening and also encourage women delivery executives to recognise and report incidents with the faith that action will be taken. Our goal is to empower women to feel safe on Swiggy’s delivery platform.”
On the rationale behind introducing the policy, Swiggy said, “As gig workers, delivery executives are not covered under the ambit of Indian laws for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH).” Internal studies have shown that many delivery executives are not even aware of the contours of sexual harassment or misconduct and that there are means to address it, the company added.
In case of a woman delivery executive encounters sexual harassment from customers, male counterparts, restaurant partners, or even Swiggy employees, she can reach out to the company’s Emergency SOS number for support. “After providing emergency assistance, should she want Swiggy to conduct an investigation, she can lodge a complaint with our on-ground team,” the blog post added.
Swiggy said it is working on a solution to ensure that if the harassment occurs at a customer’s location after the initial investigation is done, no other female delivery executive with Swiggy is ever assigned to that customer. “The number will be highlighted so that a female executive is not assigned even if the customer changes location. Grievous offenses punishable by law will lead to the removal of customers from the Swiggy platform,” it added.
In the case of a Swiggy employee being the perpetrator, then “it becomes a POSH case since the employee is bound to the company”, the blog post said. On the other hand, if the harassment is by a restaurant partner, consumer, or fellow delivery partner, then an initial investigation by an internal committee headed by a woman will be conducted followed by guidance on what the delivery executive can do in terms of what Indian penal codes are available, it added.
Swiggy said it will support the women delivery executive in filing a complaint and also authorities in their investigation. The company said as part of its efforts to step up efforts on the safety of women delivery executives, they have been given an option to “decline deliveries if they deem an area to be unsafe, with no questions or disincentives placed”. “This process gives us intel to continuously map and avoid unsafe neighbourhoods, especially for women delivery executives. Our tech team is currently working on a solution to make sure that no woman delivery partner is assigned to potentially unsafe locations,” it added.
The company said to create awareness among women delivery executives, it has been conducting in-person sessions, starting with cities like Bengaluru and Chennai where it has the highest number of women delivery executives.