Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata, yatraitaastu na pujyante sarvaastatrafalaah kriyaah
Translation: where Women are honored, divinity blossoms there, and where women are dishonored, all action no matter how noble remain unfruitful…
What is POSH?
POSH is an acronym for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment. It came into being in 2013 thanks to the efforts of the Vishakha group who battled for a safer work environment.
Organizations are required to have systems in place for grievance redressal regarding workplace sexual harassment.
The POSH act was published in the Gazette of India as Act No. 14 on December 09, 2013. The Indian Ministry of Women and Child Development declared December 09, 2013 as the effective date of the POSH Act.
Why POSH ?
2001 – A director at Infosys was accused of Sexual Harassment
2012 – A senior director at Air India was accused of Sexual Harassment
2013 – The Editor in Chief at Tehelka was accused of Rape
The frequency of such incidents have ballooned since then with names like Uber, Wipro etc getting involved in such scandals.
Vishaka, a women’s welfare group led public interest litigations for reduce and stop Sexual Harassment at the Workplace. This ultimately lead to the guidelines that have become a part of the POSH act.
All employers are expected to have systems and processes that make workplaces harassment-free zones. Non-compliance with the POSH will result in severe penalties.
Companies with more than nine employees are required to form what is called an internal complaint committee (ICC), a mandatory committee that exists to protect women at the workplace. Any woman who has been harassed may approach this body to have their grievances redressed.
If there are less than ten employees in an organization, complaints must be made to the Local Complaints Committee (LCC). This is overseen by the district magistrate or the district collector.
247HRM allows employees to anonymously post grievances on the login page of the platform. Employees can also post on the help desk and grievances page. Any POSH related grievance can be directed to all members of ICC. This ensures that all grievances are tracked and closed as per TATs set by the ICC within the guidelines of the POSH act.
What is needed to comply?
Crucial elements of POSH compliance checklist that are to be followed in every organization:
Has an internal anti-sexual harassment policy has been implemented in the organization? When you use 247HRM you can post this as a company policy and have all your employees review and digitally accept this along with other policies.
It also checks if an internal complaint committee (ICC) as per the 2013 act exists in the company or organization. When using 247HRM you can redirect all POSH related grievances to the ICC.
It also asks if sexual harassment is specified as a form of misconduct under the service rules or employment contract or the standing orders if applicable.
Notices, Posters etc in high traffic zones are needed to make employees aware of Company policy related to POSH
You can generate template based letters within 247HRM to employees to remind them about POSH compliance and its importance in the Workplace. You can also generate warning letters and letters of misconduct as you see fit for specific employees.
Remind employees of this important workplace ethic using notices, periodic workshops or seminars. Most importantly educate employees about the policy and the act and consequences of misconduct and the protocols and processes in place to address any such misconduct.
247HRM’s L&D system will allow your employees to study company polices, processes related to POSH periodically. Add a quiz at the end to ensure that they have understood it.
The ICC is requires a minimum of two women on the panel. It consists of a presiding officer who must be a woman, two members from the employees with a good standing in the organisation and another member who is from an NGO aware of women’s rights or sexual harassment.
All members of the ICC should be sensitised to the requirements of the POSH Act and company policy. The ICC is required to make recommendations on how to make the organisation a safer and better workplace.
There needs to be processes in place to ensure that their recommendations are being implemented within the stipulated timelines.
The ICC is also required to maintain and submit a list of incidents of sexual harassment and the action taken. These can be electronically stored in 247HRM as part of the infracting employees file.