Introduction An Act for the Safety, Regulation, and Remedy of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace was proclaimed by India in 2013. The ACT was
An Act for the Safety, Regulation, and Remedy of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace was proclaimed by India in 2013. The ACT was created to protect women against sexual harassment in the workplace, regardless of its form. The POSH Law is made up of this Act and its several regulations.
Mitigation of Sexual Harassment is referred to as POSH. The goal of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Regulation, Prevention, and Grievances) Act was to protect women from workplace sexual harassment.
Every employer, individual, partnership, or firm is subject to the POSH Laws. Every organization, regardless of size or number of workers, including Public Limited Companies, Private Limited Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships, Partnership Firms, Associations, Societies, Trusts, and Non-Governmental Organizations, must abide by the provisions outlined in the Act.
A POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) violation can result in a financial penalty for the employer of INR 50,000. If the employer repeatedly violates the rules, they might face double the penalties. Non-compliance may also result in license revocation, withdrawal of registration for conducting business, or non-renewal registration by the government or local authority.
When female employees have filed legal complaints alleging workplace sexual harassment, the employers have frequently been hit with financial fines totaling more than Rs. 50,000. Employers who violate POSH regulations may be subject to exemplary damages judgments from the courts. Additionally, this might damage the business’s reputation and foster a hostile work atmosphere.
A declaration that the business has complied with POSH legislation regarding establishing the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) has been made essential to include in the Director’s report. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (POSH legislation) implementation disclosure requirement has been added to the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014, requiring every firm to include it in the Director’s Report.
Is POSH Training Mandatory in India?
In India, POSH training is now required after the ACT was approved in 2013. The ACT requires mandatory POSH training for all employees and employers for any firm or organization with more than ten employees.
Every employee and employer must know what constitutes workplace sexual harassment, how to report it, how to resolve the issue, and the repercussions and penalties for non-compliance.
What Does It Take To Be POSH Compliant?
The purpose of the POSH ACT is to offer justice for the women who experience workplace sexual harassment by preventing it and then dealing with it. It was developed after a thorough study. Because of this, each organization is required to abide by the procedures for creating POSH policies in their offices, organizations, etc.
Establishing a special committee to address complaints:
- Organizations with more than ten workers must establish an internal committee (IC). Even if there are no female employees at the company, the IC must be established. This Committee handles the complaint’s receipt and resolution.
- The IC must have four members, with women making up half the membership. A presiding officer, two organization members representing the employees, and one external member make up the IC.
- When a woman experiences sexual harassment at work or if another employee becomes aware of it, she should go to the IC and make a complaint. From there, the process will start.
Spreading Knowledge of the POSH Law
The business or management must hold seminars and training sessions on workplace sexual harassment for all workers.
This makes it easier for workers to contact the IC with sexual harassment complaints and receive justice. More significantly, the training sessions help the staff members comprehend what sexual harassment entails, which will help them understand that no sexual harassment is acceptable.
Informing everyone about the legal repercussions of engaging in workplace sexual harassment is another aspect of raising awareness.
POSH Policy Drafting
Every business must create a thorough policy outlining the methods and practices for implementing the POSH rules.
To write the policy, the organizations might seek legal assistance.
What goal and purpose should be included in a standard POSH policy?
- Whom and places may apply the policy.
- Information on what constitutes workplace sexual harassment.
- Employers and workers both have responsibilities.
- Information on the Internal Committee (IC).
- The steps for filing, handling, and resolving complaints.
- Penalties and legal repercussions.
Modifications to Employment Contracts
It is crucial to note the point in the policy where the employment contract changes in situations of sexual harassment.
The organization must explicitly state and adhere to the consequences of sexually harassing a woman at work.
As a result of the wrongdoing, this clause may add points like suspension, termination, and financial penalties.
Data on POSH Compliance per year
An annual report of the cases, the handling and redressal of complaints, and the results of each case are to be provided by the Internal Committee (IC).
The number of cases that are resolved annually, the number of cases that are still outstanding, and the number of POSH programs that the company offers its employees should also be included.
- For various reasons, such as fear of harming their reputation or losing their jobs, some women choose not to speak out about sexual harassment at work.
- On the other hand, there aren’t many women who prey on other workers by accusing them of harassment without evidence.
- Thanks to POSH training, employees in such situations might grasp what to do.
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Non-Compliance with the POSH Laws
- Employers who disregard the POSH law’s regulations are subject to severe fines. The financial penalty is the first and most serious repercussion; for the first offense, an employer who violates the law and the norms may be fined up to Rs. 50,000. Repeated violations can result in double the fine and license revocation, withdrawal, or non-renewal for any organization or corporation.
- The firm or organization may also be subject to reputational harm, which might be difficult to handle, in addition to financial fines.
What is Required to Comply with POSH?
An employer must complete several requirements to be POSH compliant to guarantee that working women are not subjected to sexual harassment. The following procedures will guarantee that your company complies with the POSH requirements in full:
Establishing a dedicated group to address complaints
- Every company with more than ten employees must set up an internal complaints committee (ICC) to investigate and resolve claims of sexual harassment.
- Each office or division of the organization with at least ten workers must form an internal complaints committee. Furthermore, even if they do not employ women, all firms with ten or more employees are legally required to establish an ICC.
- Compliance with POSH rules is crucial because they enable third parties, such as contractors and customers, who visit an organization’s location to report sexual harassment.
- A workplace does not need to create an ICC if it has less than ten employees. In this instance, all complaints will be sent to the regional complaints committee established under the Act by each district’s district authorities.
- Sexual harassment claims must be brought to the Local Complaints Committee (LCC), which may have been established at each district level by the district collector or the district magistrate in organizations with less than ten workers.
Spreading Knowledge of the POSH Rules
- The employer must host workshops, seminars, and orientations to ensure that all of its workers are properly informed on the POSH rules and the procedure for handling complaints under the ICC.
- Employers are also required to prominently post notifications at the workplace concerning the legal repercussions of engaging in sexual harassment as well as details about the ICC and its members.
POSH Policy Drafting
Every business is required by law to establish a POSH or anti-sexual harassment policy, to forbid, prevent, and address sexual harassment at work, promote gender-sensitive safe spaces, and eliminate underlying causes of a hostile work environment for women. You can use legal assistance to create a POSH policy for your business.
Modifications to Employment Contracts
- The anti-sexual harassment regulations compel employers to address any occurrences of sexual harassment as misbehavior under the rules of employment; therefore, just drafting a policy that complies with the POSH legislation is not sufficient.
- It is crucial to add a phrase in the employment contract, standing orders, or service regulations of a workplace that states that sexual harassment will be regarded as misbehavior and lists the possible consequences, such as pay reductions or job termination.
Report on POSH Compliance per year
- The Internal Complaints Committee (if there are more than ten employees) or Local Complaints Committee (if there are fewer than ten employees) must submit an annual report to the District officer under the employer’s supervision detailing the company’s POSH compliance, including the number of cases filed, their disposition, investigations, etc.
- The employer must inform the District Officer of the total number of harassment claims filed in a year, even if the annual report is not needed to be submitted.
What does the Law Mandate?
- According to Section 4 of the Act, any company with ten or more workers is required to establish an internal committee (IC). This Committee must consist of:
- the appointment of a presiding officer by senior management (should be a woman)
- One outside participant, preferably a lawyer or non-governmental organization
- Two or more members who represent the corporation’s workforce.
- At least 50% of the total members that have been nominated must be female. All legal disputes will be brought to this body, which should arbitrarily determine all issues.
- First and foremost, as the law focuses on sexual harassment prevention, every member of the organization’s staff needs to undergo sensitization training once a year.
- No of the accused’s intent or the severity of the impact, every occurrence must be handled seriously and subjected to an investigation by the IC.
- However, spreading an offensive shaggy dog story or photograph even once on social media might result in a complaint.
- In addition, the Act mandates that companies implement programs for education and public awareness and create policies against sexual harassment.
Penalties on Failure to Comply?
Since breaking this rule might have serious repercussions. While the PoSH Law also has the following provisions:
- The corporation will be fined $50,000 if it fails to form an internal committee or violates any rules of this Act or any rules it adopts (INR 50,000).
- Suppose any Company was previously found guilty of a crime punishable by this Act. If he commits the same crime and is found guilty, he will face a sentence twice as severe.
Extended penalties shall be
- First, his license will be revoked or canceled.
- Second, the registration may not be renewed or may be canceled.
The following effects of non-compliance
- PoSH Law violations are not only against the law but also have the potential to be fatal.
- Once a booking is made under the law, the organization’s reputation and goodwill are irreparably damaged.
Negatively Affects the Corporation’s Development and Reputation
A firm in Chennai that received a sexual harassment complaint from a woman was fined Rs. 1.68 crores for breaking the law. The law is, therefore, quite obvious. Because non-compliance might cause problems for management. As a result, they even have to pay for aiding in the crime’s commission and criminal prosecution.
Professionals in Sexual Harassment Prevention
Building anti-sexual harassment policies and strategies internally, however, conveys the picture of a more responsible employer. At the same time, it is the management of each organization’s duty to ensure complete adherence to this legislation.
Manager of Human Resources
- Since it is the responsibility of HR to ensure a safe and secure working environment for all of its employees and gender sensitization, education, and awareness about PoSH is the first stage in this process.
- Sensitization and compliance can consequently help to increase production and worker productivity.
- According to reports (by way of EY & Deloitte), implementing such rules aids in motivating staff. Making them feel more included and a member of the organization.
- Therefore, knowledge of legislation requiring worker protection offers them peace of mind and motivates them to perform more effectively.
- The top management is responsible for maintaining the agency’s priorities and public image.
- Therefore, a sound policy makes it possible to ensure employees, potential clients, and vendors since it fosters a sense of respect and understanding for the company.
What is Needed to Be PoSH Compliant?
- Initially, make sure the POSH policy is implemented.
- Second, sensitizing all staff members.
- Third, internal committee information (IC)
- Training IC on research methodology, confidentiality, deadlines, report format, etc.
- Next, a required external member who ensures impartiality, fairness, and proper procedures for implementing the PoSH policy.
- In conclusion, the Director’s document includes submitting the yearly report to the appropriate authorities and PoSH compliance.
Benefits of Conducting POSH Training
- Predominantly greater levels of job happiness and employee engagement, followed by higher levels of productivity and teamwork among employees, and then higher levels of talent retention.
- Then, workplace culture should be improved.
- as a result, regard for colleagues
- It is not difficult to establish a protected, warm, pleasant, and safe atmosphere; all it takes is awareness and attention. Focus is, therefore, the best tool against sexual harassment.
Develop your abilities by enrolling in Posh Training (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) provided by Muds Management.