The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act) was enacted as a comprehensive legislation to provide a safe, secure and enabling environment, free from sexual harassment to every woman.
The corporate POSH Policy is applicable to all the Employees of the Company including all women at the workplace (as defined in the Act) of any age. Further the Policy seeks to endow protection to its women employees at any place visited by her which arises out of or during the course of her employment with the Company including transportation provided by the Company for undertaking such journey.
To implement the provisions of the POSH Act and Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 (the Sexual Harassment Laws) is mandate for all size of business.
The purpose of the POSH Policy is to provide a safe working environment to the women in the Company including safety from the persons coming into contact with the women at the Company. Under the policy every company need to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee in accordance with the Sexual. Harassment Laws to redress any complaint of sexual harassment filed by an Aggrieved Woman.
Company has to ensure the implementation of this Policy in its letter and spirit through prevention of acts of sexual harassment, proper reporting and redressal of the complaints and the follow-up procedures and also to promote an environment this would raise awareness amongst the Employees about sexual harassment in its various forms and to sensitise the Employees with the various provisions as given under the Sexual Harassment Laws.
Defining Sexual Harassment
The aim of this Policy is to protect the women employees from the acts of sexual harassment. Sexual Harassment includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication) towards the women namely:
(i) physical contact and advances; or
(ii) a demand or request for sexual favours; or
(iii) making sexually coloured remarks; or
(iv) showing pornography; or
(v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
The following circumstances, among other circumstances, if it occurs or is present in relation to or connected with any of the above act or behaviour of sexual harassment will also amount to Sexual Harassment:
(i) implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment; or
(ii) implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment; or
(iii) implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; or
(iv) interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her; or
(v) humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.
The Company has constituted an Internal Complaints Committee in accordance with Section 4 of the Act. The Presiding Officer of the Committee and other members comprising the Committee who will be nominated by the Company shall hold office in accordance with the Sexual Harassment Laws and shall be notified by the Company from time to time.
An Aggrieved Woman may make, in writing, a complaint of Sexual Harassment to the Committee, within a period of three months from the date of incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of three months from the date of the last incident:
Provided that where such complaint cannot be made in writing, the Presiding Officer or any Member of the Committee, as the case may be, shall render all reasonable assistance to the Aggrieved Woman for making the complaint in writing:
Provided further that the Committee may, for the reasons to be recorded in writing extend the time limit not exceeding three months, if it is satisfied that the circumstances were such which prevented the Aggrieved Woman from filing a complaint within the above said period of three months.
In case the Aggrieved Woman is unable to make complaint then a complaint can also be filed in accordance with the Sexual Harassment Laws by her legal heirs, relatives, friends, co-worker, officer of the National or State Commission for Women, special educator, qualified psychologist, guardian or any person who has knowledge of the incident as the case may be.
On the receipt of the Complaint, the Committee shall sit within a period of 48 working hours and brief the Aggrieved Woman about the provisions of the Act and remove deficiencies, if any in the Complaint which is filed.
The Committee may, before initiating an inquiry on the Complaint and at the request of the Aggrieved Woman take steps to settle the matter between her and the Respondent through conciliation. However, no monetary settlement shall be made a basis of this conciliation between the Aggrieved Woman and the Respondent.
The settlement so arrived at between the parties shall be recorded in writing by the Committee and copy of which shall be furnished to the authorised representative of the Company and also to the parties.
Where a settlement is arrived at, as provided above, no further inquiry shall be conducted by the Committee unless the Respondent breaches any condition of the settlement.
In case no settlement is arrived at between the parties and the Respondent is an Employee of the Company, the Committee shall, proceed to make inquiry into the complaint in the manner as provided under the Service Rules and Sexual Harassment Laws, as may be applicable.
Further if the Aggrieved Woman informs the Committee that any term or condition of the settlement (as provided above) arrived at between the parties has not been complied with by the Respondent; the Committee shall proceed to make an inquiry into the complaint.
Provided further that where both the parties are Employees, the parties shall, during the course of inquiry, be given an opportunity of being heard and a copy of the interim findings of the Committee shall be made available to both the parties enabling them to make representations against the findings before the Committee.