POSH – Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place Act – 10 Things to Know

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The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work. The Act came into force from 9 December 2013. Any workplace with more than 10 employees need to implement this Act.

Here are the 10 key features of the Act:

  1. The law applies to women harassed in the workplace including women working as domestic workers, daily wagers, temporary or permanent, full-time or part-time, as well as volunteers. The women may or may not be employed and can be of any age. The law is only applicable to women and women only.
  1. Sexual harassment includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behavior:
  • Physical contact or advances
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Making sexually coloured remarks
  • Showing pornography
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature

If the following circumstances exist in relation to any behavior, that is, if any act is done under the following circumstances that would also count as sexual harassment:

  • Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment
  • Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment
  • Implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status
  • Interferes with work or creates an intimidating/hostile/offensive work environment
  • Humiliating treatment likely to affect her health and safety.
  1. The act of harassment can occur in the workplace and also if a woman is harassed while visiting a place arising out of or during the course of employment including transportation provided by the office, a complaint can be filed under this Act.
  1. The Act requires all workplaces to set up Internal Complaints Committees to address the issue of sexual harassment. There will also be a Local Complaints Committee for each District where complaints can be filed.
  1. An aggrieved woman can file a complaint within 3 months of the incident (or later if allowed by the committee).
  1. The Act provides the option of a settlement between the aggrieved woman and the responded through conciliation but only on the request of the woman. However, money compensation cannot be a basis for the settlement.
  1. The inquiry has to be completed within 90 days.
  2. In case of malicious complaints or false evidence, the Committee may take action against the woman/ person. However, simply not being able to prove an allegation will not mean that it is a false/malicious complaint.
  1. The identity of the aggrieved woman, respondent, witnesses as well as other details of the complaint cannot be published or disclosed to the public/media.
  2. The Act also hopes to prevent such incidents by placing a duty on employers to hold regular workshops/awareness programs as well as, display the consequences of harassment in the workplace.

Every employer has a duty to provide a safe working environment to all employees.

“The content used in this article was taken from this link: http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/10-things-to-know-about-law-relating-to-sexual-harassment-at-wor-30985.html?page=3

Her Second Innings, offers POSH Consulting and Implementation, External Member for ICC and Orientation programs for ICC and workshops to sensitize employees with provisions of the Act. For more details mail us at support@hersecondinnings.com we would be happy to assist you.

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