All You Need to Know About PoSH Compliance

By greytHR
3 minute read ● October 26, 2022
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All You Need to Know About PoSH Compliance

What does it take for a person to perform and grow in the workplace? Although there are multiple factors, a safe and inclusive work environment matters a lot ‒ especially for female employees.

Dr. Ishani Roy, Founder, Serein and Ms. Chryslynn D'Costa, Co-Founder and Head (Research and Design), joined us at our Parichay Webinar Series to discuss the nitty gritty, importance and implementation requirements of the PoSH Act. They also emphasised the reasons why an organisation and its employees must have a clear understanding of this Act.

The speakers were grateful enough to answer 20+ questions during the hour-long conversation with greytHR. Here are a few key questions with their answers. If you wish to listen to the unedited version, click on the link below this post and listen to the entire webinar.

What are the basic aspects of PoSH?

  • Legislation: The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (aka PoSH Act) was enacted to make workplaces safer for women.
  • Policy: The first aspect is to have a policy that informs people inside the organisation, visitors and empanelled third parties that the organisation is legally compliant. As part of the awareness drive, employees must also be made to understand what constitutes sexual harassment as per the law. It is also mandatory for every employee to attend the training every year.
  • Internal committee: The next aspect is setting up an internal committee to handle sexual harassment cases. The committee members have to undergo an annual intensive training programme covering all the legal aspects. Upon completion, they should have the know-how to conduct an enquiry and suggest the appropriate disciplinary action. Even the companies in co-working spaces need to have PoSH committees.
  • Compliance: Last but not least, the government must be informed about the organisation's compliance status. This can be done by filing an annual report, for the calendar year,
    with the concerned district officer.

What constitutes sexual harassment as per the Act?

  • Physical harassment: This refers to anything from an uncomfortable touch to sexual assault.
  • Verbal harassment: Cracking a joke or saying something in any language, which is sexual in nature, is considered to be offensive.
  • Non-verbal harassment: In this case, any sexual joke or image sent or shown via WhatsApp or social media is considered inappropriate.
  • Quid pro quo: This is a type of power-based harassment where a person in power says, "You give me this, and I'll give you this". In other words, it is about sexual favours in the workplace.

Does the Act protect only female employees from sexual harassment in the workplace?

Yes. The Act protects female employees from sexual harassment by male employees. But some companies write gender-neutral policies to extend the scope of the Act. In this case, the internal committee members must be trained to understand what constitutes sexual harassment of other genders.

What is an internal committee, and who are its members?

As of now, India is the only country that has a provision for an internal committee.

The law specifies that more than 50% of the members must be women. The committee must have three internal committee members, a presiding officer and one external member who usually understands the law and processes. The presiding officer needs to be a woman holding the senior most position in the organisation. Ideally, the committee members should be drawn from different teams across the organisation to ensure diversity and fairness.

A new member has to be nominated if an existing member leaves. A member can hold the position for a maximum of 3 years. Post-completion of 3 years, a new IC member has to be nominated.

What is the required documentation during an investigation process?

During case enquiries, all meetings have to be recorded, transcribed and signed by all parties. Additionally, every communication to the complainant, witnesses and respondents has to be documented and filed in a confidential folder. If the case moves to court, this folder will become a credible reference source for the judge.

Listen to the entire webinar

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