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Don’t Tolerate Sexual Harassment at Workplace
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Don’t Tolerate Sexual Harassment At Workplace

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    Sexual harassment at workplace is a sensitive issue for all organisations. Even a single case of sexual harassment can ruin goodwill of the company and bring legal troubles. Thus, the employers have to suffer a lot due to sexual harassment cases. Even the owners of such organisations have to face a lot of difficulties both socially and mentally.

    Even before the advent of #Metoo movement in the west, India had already introduced the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (PoSH) Act 2013. The PoSH law played a vital role in empowering the female workforce of the corporate sector by securing the very sensitive matter under the provisions of law. Therefore, it also resulted in increase of sexual harassment cases at workplace as more and more women started reporting instances which were otherwise ignored. As a legal consultancy firm we have been able to handle such cases very smoothly and have the best team of advocates working dedicatedly towards the same. But, let’s understand the PoSH law and provisions first before moving to how we can help.

    Definition of Workplace

    Under thePOSH ACT, a Workplace is any department organization, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit, owned fully or partially by the employer.  It also includes any place visited by an employee during the course of her duty. The definition also extends to virtual workplaces like team chat of companies or email platforms, etc.

    Members of the Internal Complaint Committee:-

    Members of the Internal Complaint Committee
    Chairperson/ Presiding Officer – This position must be held by a woman employed at the senior level of the workplace.
    Two Members – These should be from the group of employees who are preferably committed to the cause of women or have experience of social work with some legal knowledge of the PoSH act.
    External Member – External members could be doctors, advocates, or members of NGOs working for the cause of women. Even advocates with experience of working on PoSH cases can be appointed as an external member. We also provide empanelment of the external member services to the corporates. Our advocates have ample experience in handling PoSH related cases.

    Internal Complaint Committee Responsibilities

    Every company should have a safe and harassment-free workplace. In case of the complaint related to POSH act, the ICC is responsible to investigate the complaint without any bias and resolve the case in a certain period of time which is mentioned in the POSH Act 2013. Complaints of sexual harassment at a workplace could impact the social image of not only the parties involved (complainant and accused), but of the company and its goodwill as well. Thus, every company should develop a sturdy system to suppress activities leading to sexual harassment and promote reporting sexual harassment cases. This will help in making the workplace safer for female employees and increase inclusively at the workplace.

    Anyone Can Be Sexually Harassed

    Sexual harassment is a gender-neutral subject and anyone can be subjected to it. However, the PoSH Act only provides remedy to the female workforce. We personally believe in gender neutralization of the Act and thus we take care of avoiding any bias while preparing the anti sexual harassment policy for any organisation. The very simple logic behind this is to understand that men can sexually harass women but even women can sexually harass men or take unfair advantage of the law to malign a male coworker or blackmail him. Thus, policies should be designed in such a way that they encourage women to come out and report instances of sexual harassment but also have strict provisions against malignant complaints of sexual harassment.

    Prevention of Sexual Harassment Policy for companies

    We take care of the business needs while drafting the policy related to prevention of sexual harassment at workplace. The devised policy should be applicable to all employees and managers, whether they are regular or temporary workers. The policy document is a very important part of the POSH Act related benefits and the company’s employee and employer can use it for reference on appropriate workplace behaviour.

    Here one will get the solution to all types of challenges they might encounter related to POSH queries.

    Now, look at the services we provide to both employees and employers related to instances of Sexual harassment.

    List of Services

    Conciliation: On the request of aggrieved women, the ICC (Internal Complaint Committee) or the Local Committee should take the following steps before initiating an inquiry. Under section 11 of the act, they must take steps to resolve the matter between her and the respondent through conciliation. Legal experts of the law like us can help in the process to resolve conflict/complaint received by the Internal Complaints Committee on the specific request of the aggrieved employee in the manner provided under the Act. Thus, recruiting our expert as an external member can help in quick resolution of such complaints.

    Mediation Services: This would be the kind of session to define the issues faced by the complainant and the response of the accused. This step regulates the position of both parties involved in the case. This is one of the Informal techniques to sort out conflicts associated with Sexual Harassment at workplace through a synergic, trusted process that veers hostility into dialogue and mutual consensus.

    Legal Representations:  We provide legal representation services to both the employees or the employers with our expertise in the Labour Court, civil court, and the high courts on matters related to stopping or prevention of workplace harassment.

    Advisory:  Provide proper guidelines and support to any victim in dealing with such a situation. We keep them posted with the best legal route, and are always there for them for help related to this matter. We have experience of resolving matters related to big Brands and sort out the matter internally without letting the market get aware of the Sexual Harassment complaint.

    Counseling – Assisting with the best strategy to resolve the matter within the organization and simultaneously taking care of the brand value.

    Document Required

    Document Required

    Identification documents and related proofs.
    For the victim, any document or digital proof of harassment.
    Copy of complaint to ICC.
    Any other relevant document for the case.
    Details of ICC members for compliance report.
    For companies, details of cases handled annually for the generation of compliance reports.

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      Frequently Asked Questions on Don’t Tolerate Sexual Harassment at Workplace
      What Is The Clear Definition Of Sexual Harassment?

      If the person filing a complaint feels being sexually harassed as defined by law, it will be counted under sexual harassment at workplace.

      Do I Need To Document The Complaints Of Sexual Harassment In My Organization?

      Yes, to document the complaint is very important. Every organization needs to submit annually in their report with the total no. of sexual Harassment cases.

      What Happens If My Organization Does Not Have A Policy Even Though It’s Mandatory?

      Absence of a POSH policy can put your organization in a position of great risk. In case of a formal complaint at a district office or a police station the below stated penalties will get regularize.

      1. Punishable offence with a fine of up to Rs.50,000
      2. If someone will repeat the offence the punishment will get double.
      3. Can lead to cancellation of your license or non-renewal or cancellation of registration of your company

      What If An Employee Of My Organization Is Accused Of Sexual Harassment By A Female Employee Of Another Company?

       In this case, the investigation and redressal process will sit in the organization from which the female employee belongs. Your organization will need to support the investigation process from time to time.

      What Are The Top MUST-DO Things To Roll Out The POSH Policy In My Organization?

      Please find below stated steps to roll out the POSH policy in your organization:-

      1. Drafting the definition of sexual harassment
      2. Outline a detailed procedure on how to file a complaint and manage the outcome of the investigation.
      3. Form a committee to deal with the matter as per the guidelines outlined in The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
      4. Induct your employees in the policy.
      5. Sensitize your employees about prevention of sexual harassment.

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