With globalization, men are no longer the only working class in society. Women have taken up a huge role in every sector but with that, there has also been an increase in the number of sexual harassment cases.
According to the Constitution of India, when a woman is sexually harassed in the workplace, it violates her right to equality and her right to life. The Ministry of Women and Child Development in India had enacted the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act or POSH Act in 2013 to prevent it from happening. The aim of this Act is to protect women at the workplace and provide them a safe environment to work in.
This Act is of huge importance because it not only paves the way for proper redressal of complaints related to sexual harassment at the workplace, but it also talks about preventive measures organizations can take to avoid any such cases from happening. Under this act, there is a provision for POSH training in corporate organizations. The act also states that every company with 10 or more employees must constitute an Internal Committee (IC).
Who needs POSH Training in India?
POSH training is important for managers, directors, business owners, IC members, HR-heads, legal professionals and employees. The training helps in spreading awareness among working professionals teaching them not only about the law but also the punishments associated with such acts.
What are the Basics Covered Under POSH Training?
The following are some of the things that you learn under the POSH training –
Definitions of Legal Terms
- a) Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcoming sexual behaviour which may be direct or implied. It includes physical contact, asking for sexual favours, showing pornography, making sexually coloured remarks or any other unwelcoming conduct of sexual nature.
- b) In relation to a workplace, an aggrieved woman is someone who alleges to have faced sexual harassment. The woman may or may not be employed and can be of any age. In relation to a dwelling place, an aggrieved woman is someone who works at that dwelling place.
- c) A workplace can be any place that the employee visits as a result of her employment and this also includes the transportation that is provided by the employer for commutes between the place of employment and any other location.
- d) An employer is a person who is the head of the office or someone who is responsible for the supervision, management, and control of the workplace.
What is IC and Who are its Members?
An IC or Internal Committee is required to be set up by the employer at the workplace. According to the law, an IC constitutes of a presiding officer (a senior level woman employee from the workplace), at least 2 members from among the employees who are somehow related to the cause of women and an external member preferably from an NGO or association that is familiar with sexual harassment cases.
Barriers to Reporting Sexual Harassment and Proper Understanding of What Sexual Harassment is
The POSH training is important because it gives employers and employees an insight into what sexual harassment is and how to differentiate it from other non-sexual harassment cases. It prevents someone from being wrongly accused.
Several employees might hesitate in reporting such cases as they feel it would be ineffective and result in losing their jobs. Women often do not report the matter due to fear of losing their livelihood, their personal and professional reputation and being stigmatized. But POSH teaches how these situations can be dealt with proper measures.
- Complain Pre-Requisites and Investigation Process
The complaint submitted should have every detail including dates, timings, and locations. The working relationship between the parties concerned also has to be mentioned. The POSH training also talks about how the entire investigation process should be conducted, starting from the receipt of the complaint to writing of the report.
Things that Should and Should not be Included in the Inquiry Report
The inquiry has to be completed within 90 days and the final report has to be placed at the Employer’s desk or the District Officer within 10 days after that. It is important to learn what should be included in the report and what has to be omitted as this makes the basis for confidentiality and trustworthiness. The report should contain a complete analysis of the incident and all the background information will have to be included.
Dealing with Malicious Complaints
It is often advised to set a deterrent that will help in preventing all malicious complaints. But at the same time, the employees should be encouraged to bring forward the genuine cases of sexual harassment.
The sexual harassment cases lay a huge impact on the company’s image. Not only are there legal costs associated with the case but the image of the brand is also affected. The POSH training will help you learn how you can deal with such scenarios.
How does POSH Training Help Corporates and Small Organizations in India?
Some of the benefits of conduction a POSH training are as follows –
- There is a higher level of satisfaction among the employees and employee engagement increases way more than before.
- The retention rate of valuable employees will be increased by ten folds.
- It helps in improving the quality of workplace culture.
- Co-workers learn to respect each other.
If found guilty, an employer has to pay up to Rs 50,000 as a penalty. When found guilty for the second time, the penalty or punishment is usually doubled.
The POSH Law is a step towards eliminating harassment towards women and emphasizing equal rights in the workplace. The process of redressal should be fair, user-friendly and every employer is charged with the role of ensuring that. It is a woman’s legal right to have a safe workplace to work in. Effective implementation of the POSH Law is necessary to build a sense of security in the workplace and thus increase the participation of women in all sectors. And all of this is made possible through the POSH training.
Counsel Quest is conducting POSH training for Managers, Directors, Business Owners, IC Members, and HR-Heads on August 30, 2019 in Mumbai. To book the tickets, click on this link – 8th Masterclass for IC Members.