The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“POSH Act”) was enacted to provide a safe, secure and enabling environment, free from sexual harassment.
Under the POSH Act, an employer is legally required to comply with certain statutory requirements. One of these is the constitution of an Internal Committee (“IC”), a body envisaged to receive complaints on sexual harassment at the workplace as well as to inquire into and make recommendations to the employer on the action required pursuant to its inquiry of such complaint made.
Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome act or behavior (whether express or implied), such as:-
Sexual harassment at workplace can take various forms and can involve conduct such as unwelcome touching, staring or leering, suggestive comments or jokes and unwanted or persistent requests to go out among other acts. For a more detailed list of behaviors that can be regarded as sexual harassment please write to us at email@example.com.
Any behavior which has sexual overtones and has a negative impact on the person subjected to such behavior is considered as unwelcome sexual conduct.
No. The act does not necessarily have to occur at workplace as traditionally understood. As per the POSH Act, ‘workplace’ includes any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment, including transportation provided by the employer for the purpose of commuting to and from the place of employment It could occur in any of the following places:
You can approach the Internal Committee established within your organization under POSH Act with a written complaint. Or
In case, your organisation does not have IC or if you want to make a complaint against the employer himself or if you work in the capacity of domestic help, then you can lodge your complaint with Local Committee established in your respective district under the POSH Act. Or,
You can contact the nearest police station to lodge an FIR against the perpetrator.
Every organization has to constitute an Internal Committee (IC) consisting of atleast 4 members who are required to receive and act on complaints received by them regarding sexual harassment at the workplace.
The State Government will notify the District Magistrate/Additional District Magistrate/ Collector/ Deputy Collector as District Officer in every district, who will constitute a Local Committee (LC) so as to enable women in the unorganized sector or small establishments to work in an environment free of sexual harassment. Give contact details of LC in Pune.
Non constitution of Complaints Committee is punishable with a fine of Rs. 50,000/- and repeat offenders can be punished with cancellation/withdrawal of license/registration required for carrying on business activities. The aggrieved can approach the court to complain about the same.
In case, you are unable to submit written complaint, the IC will have to provide you with all the necessary assistance.
In case you are unable to submit written complaint, the IC will have to provide you with all the necessary assistance.
The IC is legally bound to conduct a time bound inquiry into the complaint by calling all the concerned parties i.e. complainant, respondent [the person(s) against whom complaint is being made], witnesses etc. Later, on the basis of the testimonies of the concerned parties and evidences (documentary or otherwise) gathered, the Committee will make its recommendations to the management for further action.
During the inquiry, at the written request of complainant, IC can provide following interim reliefs to the complainant:
Yes, the SH Act envisages a time bound inquiry that needs to be completed within 90 days of receiving a complaint.
The Act prohibits the disclosure of:
Formulation of an Anti Sexual Harassment Policy
Display within organisations the penal consequences of sexual harassment at places where it could be viewed by majority of the people
Create an ICC at each location and display their contact details
Sensitization and training of employees and ICC members
Provide administrative support and monitor timely submission of reports by ICC
Mention the number of cases filed and disposed of under the SH Act within organisation’s annual report.
Yes, a woman if she chooses to do so may both file the FIR with the police and complaint with Complaints Committee simultaneously.