The PoSH (Prevention of Sexual harassment Act) law seeks to empower women to fight against sexual harassment at the workplace. Over the years, the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) Act has helped many women in getting justice for the cases of sexual harassment they have faced in the workplace. However, it has also become a threatening tool for some women to extort money from their organization’s management through malicious PoSH complaints. There is sometimes a lack of awareness among employees which can lead to unwanted cases of sexual misconduct. Also, many organizations do not know how to set up a proper POSH complaint redressal system or constitute the internal complaints committee. Hiring an external member for the internal complaints committee is also an issue that organizations frequently face. The solution to all these problems lies in PoSH training of employees and management of the organization through a professional legal firm.
What Is ICC and Who Are the Members?
ICC or Internal Complaints Committee is a group of people that is mandatory to constituted in every organization with ten or more employees. This committee is provided with the rights equivalent to a court by PoSH Act and is responsible for the investigation and hearing of cases of sexual harassment in any organization. The structure of the ICC is mentioned in the PoSH Act. It consists of-
- A Chairperson/ Presiding Officer – It must be a woman employed at the senior level at the workplace and has a credible record.
- Two Members – Shall be amongst the employees preferably committed to the cause of women/ experience in social work/ have legal knowledge.
- External Member – External member could be a doctor, an Advocate, or from an NGO working for the cause of women. the external member empanelment is also mandatory for each company. the member should be well versed with the provisions of the PoSH act. It is common for corporates to hire a legal expert as an external member in ICC to help the committee over the legal complications of any case.
The formation of an ICC is a must for all branches of corporates. All organizations must file an annual report of the cases handled throughout the year by ICC to the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Not following these norms could lead to action taken against the organization or even cancellation of their license.
What Should be an Ideal Complaint Redressal Mechanism?
An ideal PoSH complaint redressal mechanism is a must for any organization for the time-bound disposal of PoSH complaints. The structure should include an easy medium for women to register their complaints. The ICC should maintain confidentiality in such matters during the investigation and hearing of a complaint. the investigation must be unbiased and the point of view of all parties must be considered. ICC should also ensure that the victim gets instant action for their workplace safety. this includes transferring the alleged perpetrator to a different department or branch where the victim won’t have to face the perp till the investigation is complete. A time-cap must be introduced for all complaints to ensure efficient redressal of such cases.
How PoSH Training Helps?
- Conducting PoSH training of employees helps them to get aware of their rights under the PoSH Act.
- This helps women to come out and report any sexual misconduct from a college or a senior in the workplace and so, ensures a safe working environment.
- PoSH Training also enables employees to learn about fake PoSH complaints or what can be categorized as malicious complaints. This can reduce no. of false or fake complaints in the organization.
- Proper PoSH training for management makes them aware of the process to create a robust and effective complaint redressal system.
- It also helps the management to set up an internal complaints committee.
How to Get PoSH Training for Employees
- Contact a Legal firm that has experts with complete knowledge of the PoSH Act and have experience in conducting training sessions for employees in prestigious organizations.
- These firms mostly have professionals who have worked in the internal complaints committee of other organizations and can help in creating ICC in the new company.
- The experts can easily make employees understand the most technical terms of the Act clearly with their effective communication skills.
Conducting PoSH training sessions for employees must be made mandatory so that the employees understand the consequences of sexual misconduct and what acts constitute sexual harassment. This will help in creating a more secure and tension-free environment for women at the workplace. Companies can take help from legal firms to understand the formation of ICC and a well-structured complaint management system. Legal firms can also help companies in becoming PoSH compliant and following all the norms of the PoSH Act.