ISLAMABAD - Eight Federal Ministries are yet to implement the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010 that got the President's assent on March 9, 2010. Under the law all employers in public and private sector are required to display a code of conduct providing guidelines for ensuring a work environment free of harassment and intimidation within six months of the commencement of the Act. Advocate Asad Siddiqui, a legal expert, told The Nation that any employee of the organisation might file a petition before the District Court, if an employer failed to comply with the provision and on having found guilty, the employer would be liable to be fined which may extend up to Rs 100,000, and might not be less than Rs 25,000 in any case. He said each organisation under the law was also bound to constitute an inquiry committee within thirty days of enactment of the Act to probe into complaints of harassment. Under the law, at least one member is required to be a woman, one 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 organisation if it is unable to designate three members from within. Anyone found guilty of harassing a female subordinate or colleague under the Act may face penalties from censure and withholding of promotion for a specific period to dismissal from service and fine as the case may be. An official when contacted said the overall progress on the implementation of the law was satisfactory and as many as 36 out of total 44 ministries had implemented the law while others were in the process of doing the same. The recent appointment of the first woman ombudsperson by the Prime Minister has also been welcomed by the different quarters which is an effort to provide a safe working environment for women to utilise their capabilities and contribute in socio-economic development of the country without any fear of being harassed, intimidated and abuse. All the four provinces are yet to appoint ombudsmen to receive and decide complaints of sexual harassment. The ombudsman under the law is the competent authority to hear the appeals against decisions of the inquiry committees. The ombudsman has the same powers as the high court has to punish any person for contempt. Appeals against the decisions of Ombudsmen can be filed with the President or the Governor concerned as the case may be, within thirty days.