Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH)- An Introduction

Workplace sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination which violates a women’s /Men’s fundamental right to equality and right to life, guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India (“Constitution”). Workplace sexual harassment not only creates an insecure and hostile working environment for Women/Men but also impedes their ability to deliver in today’s competing world. Apart from interfering with their performance at work, it also adversely affects their social and economic growth and puts them through physical and emotional suffering. Protection against sexual harassment and the right to work with dignity are universall recognised human rights by international conventions and instruments such as convention on elimination of all froms of discrimination against Women/ Men, which has been ratified on 25th June 1993 by the government of India.

5 Key steps for compliance to sexual Harassment at workplace act, 2013

Step 01: Create an Anti Sexual Harassment Policy: Well begin is half done. A robust Sexual harassment policy not only covers the mandatory compliances under the PoSH act of 2013 but also endeavors to create safe workplace. A sound PoSH policy should clearly define what constitutes Sexual harassment at workplace, responsibility of the employees, reporting of the same and recourse for a victim. It is important that the offer letter and employment contract state the organization commitment to ensure safe workplace and disciplinary cum legal actions employee would face when they violate the PoSH policy of the organization.

Our PoSH E-learning also comes with chatbot feature which allows IC members to draft PoSH policy in 5 minutes. It also comes with the necessary resources, templates, digital marketing material to design a customized PoSH policy for your organisation.

Step 02: Constitute Internal Committee (IC) and give them necessary training to function efficiently : Internal committee(IC) is a judicial body formulated in an organization that has 10 or more employees. The Employer must pass an order in writing to constitute an IC. For example, if the organization is a private limited company, the order in writing for the constitution of an IC should be passed as a Board Resolution. The IC is responsible to handle and redress complaints on sexual harassment

We also provide a ready directory of external members who can be made a part of IC team.‚ÄčIC Members can download a predesigned poster from our portal which can be used as an email, or on the intranet page or printed and posted at your workplace. PoSH Law expects organizations to put up banners and posters at conspicuous locations.

                                                                                                                           

Step 03: Employee Awareness and Assistance: Creating adequate awareness among the employees is one of the biggest challenges organizations face. For example, not many employees have clarity on what is considered inappropriate behavior and what constitutes sexual harassment. In many cases, there is a thin line between what acceptable conduct is and what is not. The sensitivity of the topic and personal perspectives and attitudes of employees can make the whole thing complex. Nevertheless, awareness sessions are very important to sensitize the employees about PoSH.

Our PoSH E-learning solutions offer training and awareness at 3 levels

  • PoSH Foundation: This course is designed to create awareness about the law among the employees by educating them about their rights as an employee, their responsibilities as a witness and clarity on what is considered inappropriate behaviour and what constitutes sexual harassment.

  • PoSH for Managers: People managers play a significant role in implementation of POSH compliance at the workplace. Information on best practices, engaging activities, differentiation between proactive and reactive measures, self-paced learning method, etc. are incorporated to enable the managers.

  • PoSH for IC members: It addresses issues beyond just Compliance by breaking down complex information into simple nuggets. The course covers legally prescribed timelines, complaint investigation process, case studies and other information required for the IC members to perform their duties.

                                                                             

Step 04: Creating Awareness through Posters and Notices: PoSH 2013 expects organization to put up banners and posters (Specially at conspicuous locations) to spread awareness and sensitize the employees. POSH law mandates that an organization should take all necessary steps to create awareness among its employees about prevention of sexual harassment and the POSH law.

Our Digital marketing material helps you to design customized posters and download for training and awareness about your PoSH policy.

Step 05: Statutory Annual Report filling: As per the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act (PoSH), 2013, there are two reports to be submitted by the employer:

  1. It is mandatory for the Internal Committee to file an annual report with the District Officer. The act states “The Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, shall in each calendar year prepare, in such form and at such time as may be prescribed, an annual report and submit the same to the employer and the District Officer.”

  2. The District Officer shall forward a brief report on the annual reports received.

  3. The employer has a statutory obligation to ensure this report is included in the annual report of the organization filed to the Registrar of companies.

Our solutions/training help the IC members to draft the policy to avoid any miss in filing timely annual report to district officers / employer.

                                                                              

Our additional support on:

PoSH Audit check list: We will give a complete check list of all the activities that an organization has to complete to comply with the PoSH Law

‚ÄčAnd Inquiry Email/Invite Templates - These are legally vetted email templates which will help IC Members to invite a complainant or responded for an inquiry. These will have the required Confidentiality clause, Principles of Natural Justice clause and Dos and don'ts in a pre-drafted format.