Sexual Harassment Redressal Policy launched to enhance the safety of Swiggy’s Woman Delivery Force
A journey with miles to go….
We have been on a long journey to encourage more women to join us as delivery executives. The path since we onboarded our first delivery woman in 2016 has not been a linear one. During this time we have learned a lot about the cultural, societal, and delivery challenges that prevent more women from taking up gigs with us. Our learnings led to new initiatives and we are even stronger in our resolve to create a delivery universe that encourages more women delivery executives to join Swiggy.
Building a more inclusive workplace with policies that aid
As women executives join us, regular pulse checks and internal and external audits give us a view of the gaps that prevent more women from taking up gig work. We reflected on what we had learned—and started taking systematic action. In 2021 Swiggy became the first platform to offer paid period time off to our women delivery executives. We launched practical initiatives that included access to hygienic restrooms and access to vehicles.
Stepping up our efforts on safety
The safety of our delivery executives, regardless of gender is a top priority. The Swiggy delivery executive app has an SOS button that provides round-the-clock support and connects executives to an ambulance, the local police station, or the Swiggy helpline as the need arises. Delivery executives have the 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 neighborhoods, 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.
Sexual Harassment – legal frameworks and sensitizing women delivery executives
What happens when there is untoward behavior in the form of sexual assault or bias directed towards our women delivery executives? 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 aren’t even aware of the contours of sexual harassment or misconduct and that there are means to address it. We set out to double down on safety; build a policy that seeks to address these issues. Below are concrete actions we have taken and a policy we have started implementing in order to affect immediate and long-term safety.
Swiggy’s Sexual Harassment Redressal Policy 2022
Introducing Swiggy-specific Policy on Sexual Harassment Redressal that is aligned in spirit with the POSH Act. It covers how sexual harassment can be reported and how it will be investigated and acted upon.
The On-ground Implementation
A delivery executive’s journey has a few touchpoints where they interact with people — restaurant premise, store premise, Swiggy’s offices and training centers, and customer’s location.
Reporting Sexual Harassment – In case of a sexual harassment case arising due to customers, male counterparts, restaurant partners, and Swiggy employees, the woman delivery executive can reach out to Swiggy’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.
Different actions for different touchpoints
Swiggy Employee- Should a Swiggy employee be the perpetrator, it becomes a POSH case since the employee is bound to the company.
Restaurant partner/ Consumer/ Fellow delivery partner- An initial investigation by an internal committee headed by a woman, is followed by guidance on what the delivery executive can to do. For instance, what IPC codes are available, support in filing a complaint, and supporting the authorities in their investigation. If the harassment occurs at a customer’s location, after the initial investigation is done, we ensure that no other female delivery executive with Swiggy is ever assigned to that customer. The number is highlighted so that a female executive is not assigned even if the customer changes their location. Grievous offenses punishable by law will lead to the removal of customers from the Swiggy platform.
At any point, the woman delivery executive can raise a police complaint against the respondent and this policy doesn’t limit that. In such cases, we will always support the authorities in the investigation.
Creating awareness among women delivery executives
While we have the policy and plan in place, it is imperative to educate and create awareness about sexual harassment among our women delivery executives and support them to report incidents. In the last 45 days, our executives have been receiving regular communication in Hindi, English, and regional languages on-
What is defined as sexual harassment?
Swiggy’s sexual harassment redressal policy
How to raise and register a complaint?
We have also been conducting in-person sessions, starting with cities like Bangalore and Chennai where we have the highest number of women delivery executives.
Making the delivery universe safer for female executives – everyone has a role to play
Educating restaurant partners and Instamart store staff – Regular communication, sensitizing, and seeking support from restaurant partners and staff at Instamart stores.
Educating male delivery executives – Male delivery executives have been receiving communication educating them about sexual harassment and the redressal policy.
Educating customers – We’re also in the process of sensitizing and seeking support from our customers. The track screen that carries the delivery executive’s details will have a safety message, and awareness message for women executives.
Talking about this policy, Mihir Shah, Head of Operations, Swiggy said, “There is no place for sexual harassment or gender-based misconduct in Swiggy’s delivery universe. Through the sexual harassment redressal policy, we are taking a proactive step in building awareness and accountability among various stakeholders in the community. 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.”
Our Women Delivery Executives share their views
Safura A from Bangalore who has been part of the Swiggy family for three years, said, “Such a policy will encourage female executives to come forward with their grievances and this will protect them from any inappropriate behaviour.”
Manjula R, who is also from Bangalore and has been with Swiggy for two years, said “For every working woman, having a policy to address sexual harassment grievances is very important. I am happy that Swiggy is building something in this area. This will motivate more women in this field.”
Sexual harassment cannot be tolerated and must be addressed decisively. Swiggy is currently exploring partnerships with NGOs and other agencies working with the gig ecosystem to promote awareness among female delivery executives on sexual harassment.
We hope our initiatives will set into motion the right tools and policies to be put in place and make more gig platforms safer and more inclusive for women.