The concept of Notional Extension has been applied by Indian Courts in various cases falling under Workmen Compensation, in order to ensure the applicability of beneficial labour legislation to situations wherein the course of employment cannot be limited to the time or place of the specific work which the workman is employed to do. In line with the same concept we can see how the said doctrine has been applied time and again to broaden the concept of "workplace" as "extended workplace" under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the "Act/POSH Act").
Workplace as Defined under the Act:
Under the Act, "workplace" has been defined as which means establishments, enterprises, institutions, offices, branches, premises, locations or units established, owned, controlled by the Company or places visited by the employees out of or during the course of employment including accommodation, transportation provided by the employer for undertaking such journey.
The definition provided by the statute, itself is broad and does not restrict the place of work of the perpetrator to the physical environment of the workplace, it takes into account, all possible access places/points/scenarios wherein the aggrieved woman can come into his contact.
The Various Extensions of Workplace:
Team Outings are usually organised by the Employer/employees in order to build better understanding of the working teams for better co-ordination and co-operation among team members. Going by the principles of extension of the workplace, such outing destinations gets covered under the purview of "workplace" as the said outing is organised and controlled by the Employers and the outing has been attended during the course of employment. Reference could be drawn to International Labour Organisation ("ILO") observations on the subject, which emphasized that the definition of workplace should not be "restricted to the physical environment of the workplace"; it must take into account the 'access' that a perpetrator has to the harassed by virtue of a job situation or work relation". The reason is obvious, "Sexual harassment is not restricted to workplaces in the sense of one physical space in which paid work takes place for eight hours per day". ILO has specifically considered the different scenarios or events wherein a woman can be exposed to an unpleasant situation outside the...