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POSH at workplace : What employers need to know?

Tanvi Arora
15 Dec 2022
Blob Cover Page of POSH at workplace : What employers need to know?

POSH stands for Prevention of Sexual Harassment. It refers to the laws, regulations, and guidelines in place in India to protect individuals in the workplace from sexual harassment. POSH is meant to ensure that all employees have a safe and comfortable working environment, free from unwanted advances or harassment of any kind. It is important for employers to take steps to prevent sexual harassment and to have procedures in place for addressing any incidents that may occur.

Overview of the POSH Act

The POSH Act (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) is a law in India that aims to protect individuals from sexual harassment at the workplace. The act defines sexual harassment as any unwanted physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature that affects an individual's dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. This includes behaviors such as unwanted touching, making sexual advances, making sexually suggestive comments or jokes, and displaying sexually explicit materials.

Importance of POSH Act in protecting women from sexual harassment at the workplace

The POSH Act is important because it provides a legal framework for addressing and preventing sexual harassment at the workplace. It requires employers to take steps to prevent sexual harassment and to have procedures in place for addressing any incidents that may occur. This helps to create a safe and respectful working environment for all employees.

Additionally, the POSH Act provides employees with a mechanism for reporting incidents of sexual harassment and seeking justice. It establishes Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs) at the workplace to investigate reported incidents and make recommendations for action. It also allows employees to file complaints with the local police or with the appropriate government authorities if the ICC does not take appropriate action.

Overall, the POSH Act plays a critical role in protecting women (and men) from sexual harassment at the workplace and in promoting gender equality and respect in the workplace.

What steps employers need to take as per POSH Act in India?

As per the POSH Act in India, employers are required to take several steps to prevent sexual harassment and to address any incidents that may occur. These steps include:

1.        Developing and implementing a written policy on sexual harassment that includes a definition of sexual harassment, the employer's stance on sexual harassment, and the process for reporting and addressing incidents of sexual harassment.

2.        Displaying a notice in the workplace that explains the rights of employees and the employer's obligations under the POSH Act.

3.        Designating a member of senior management as the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to investigate and address any incidents of sexual harassment that are reported.

4.        Providing training and awareness programs for employees to help them understand what constitutes sexual harassment and how to report incidents of sexual harassment.

5.        Taking prompt and appropriate action to address any incidents of sexual harassment that are reported. This may include conducting a thorough investigation, taking disciplinary action against the perpetrator, and providing support and assistance to the victim.

Overall, the goal of the POSH Act is to create a safe and respectful workplace for all employees, and employers are expected to take the necessary steps to prevent and address incidents of sexual harassment.

Is there any penalty for employers for not following POSH guidelines in India?

Yes, there are penalties for employers in India who do not comply with the POSH Act. If an employer fails to take the necessary steps to prevent and address incidents of sexual harassment, they may be subject to a fine of up to INR 50,000 (approximately $700). Additionally, if an employer is found to have retaliated against an employee who has reported an incident of sexual harassment, they may be subject to a fine of up to INR 50,000 and imprisonment for up to three years.

Tanvi Arora

Tanvi is a Business Development Executive at Calibr. While primarily occupied with building our outbound sales funnel, she also enjoys writing about eLearning trends in the corporate world.