What is the POSH law?
In 2013, India announced an ACT for protection, prevention and redressal of women from sexual harassment at workplace. This ACT along with its several rules is called the POSH (Prevention Of Sexual Harassment of women at workplace) Law.
The ACT was established to ensure women safety, from sexual harassment of any form, at the workplace.
Related Blog: POSH Training: All You Need To Know – A Complete Guide
Non-Compliance with the POSH Laws
When an employer does not comply with the rules stated under the POSH law, they are entitled to great penalties. The first and foremost consequence is the monetary penalty, the employer who shows non-compliance towards the rules and the law can be fined up to Rs.50,000 for the first time. Repeated breach can lead to twice the monetary penalty and cancellation/withdrawal/non-renewal of license for carrying out the business or any organization.
Along with the monetary penalties, the business/organization can also face reputational damage which could be heavy to bear.
Is POSH Training Mandatory in India?
POSH training has been made compulsory in India since 2013 when the ACT was passed. According to the ACT, any company/organization with more than 10 employees should have a mandatory POSH training for all their employees and employers.
It has been made mandatory so that every employee and employer know what comes under workplace sexual harassment, how to file a complaint against it, the procedure of redressal of the issue and the consequences and penalties for non-compliance.
What Does It Take To Be POSH Compliant?
POSH ACT has been established with careful observations and is meant to provide justice to the women who face workplace sexual harassment, in both preventing it and then addressing it. Therefore, the steps for forming POSH policies in offices, organizations etc. have also been curated with careful steps and every organization is expected to follow them.
1. Constituting a separate committee for redressal of complaints:
An Internal Committee (IC) is to be formed at every organization that has more than 10 employees. The IC is to be formed even if there is no woman employee working at the organization. This committee looks after receival and redressal of the complaint.
The IC has to have 4 members out of which 50% of the members should be women. The IC consists of a Presiding Officer, 2 members of the organization who represent the employees and one external member.
When a woman faces any sort of sexual harassment at the workplace, or if any other employee is aware of it, they are supposed to approach the IC and file the complaint and from there the procedure begins.
2. Creating awareness about the POSH law
It is of utmost importance that the employer or the management conduct courses and training programs for all employees regarding workplace sexual harassment. This helps employees to know that they can approach the IC in case of sexual harassment issues and get justice for it. More importantly, the training programs makes the employees understand what comes under sexual harassment which will give them clarity that no sexual harassment is minimal.
The part of awareness also includes informing everyone about the penal consequences of getting involved in sexual harassment at workplace.
3. Drafting a POSH Policy
It is mandatory that every company drafts a detailed policy which will have the steps and procedure of implementing the POSH policies. The organizations can take help of the lawyers to draft the policy.
A typical POSH policy should have-
- The objective and purpose.
- For whom and where the policy can be applied.
- Details about what constitutes sexual harassment at workplace.
- Responsibilities of the employees and the employer.
- Details about the Internal Committee (IC).
- Procedure to file, handle and redressal of the complaint.
- Legal consequences and penalties.
4. Changes in the Employment contracts
In the policy itself, it is important to include the point of changes in employment contract in cases of sexual harassment. The repercussions of harassing a woman sexually at workplace should be written clearly and are to be followed by the organization.
Suspension, termination, monetary penalty can be some of the points that can be added under this clause as consequence of the misconduct.
5. Annual Report on POSH Compliance
The Internal Committee (IC) is supposed to present an annual report of the cases, the addressal and redressal of the complaints and the outcome of every case. It should also include the number of cases that are disposed every year and those that are pending and number of POSH programs taken by the organization for employees.
There are women who do not take any action against the sexual harassment that takes place at workplace for various reasons like fear of losing their reputation, fear of losing job etc. On the other hand, there are few women who take advantage of other employee by falsely accusing them of the harassment. POSH training helps employees in such situations to understand what steps to take.
It is essential that every organization in India to be essentially POSH trained. We are here to help you to get the best training in India for the same. Jump onto to know about our POSH training program and get trained by the best POSH trainers in the field!