The POSH Law is established for women's safety and a healthy work
environment. Let's see its features.
Sexual Harassment was put under criminal offense in 2013. After the landmark
judgment in the Vishakha case
(1997), the Government did not try to
rectify the situation. Until they were rapped on the knuckles by the Apex Court
Kotwal Lele Vs Union of India
The current POSH Act of India got enacted after the SC passed strictures against
the Government for not enacting a law to ensure women's safety in the workplace
from Sexual Harassment.
The necessity to give legislative sanctity to the Vishakha Guidelines and
deliver a more extensive and robust framework around the burning topic of Sexual
Harassment at the workplace led to the Parliament enacting PoSH Act, 2013.
History of POSH Act
India's first detailed legislation explicitly dealing with the issue of
harassment at work The POSH Law
sexual harassment of women at workplace act
got proposed with the core purpose of protecting employees against Sexual
Harassment and assuring a safe, secure, and dignified working environment for
The abundance of cases continues to evolve exponentially. More than 1,971 cases
of Sexual Harassment of women at the workplace were reported in four years till
December 2017, and cases reported intensified by 45% from 2014 to 2017.
What does the law mandate?
According to Section 4 of the Act, every company with 10 or more employees must
comprise an Internal Committee (IC). These POSH Committee Members must include:
A Presiding Officer nominated from Senior Management (must be a woman)
One POSH outer member from amongst non-governmental organizations or a lawyer
and At least two members represent the organization's employees.
It is crucial that at least one-half of the entire members so nominated shall be
women. All grievances shall get made to this body which must settle every issue
All employees of the organization must endure sensitization training per annum
as the whole emphasis of the PoSH Act is on the the the prevention of Sexual
Irrespective of the degree of impact or the intention of the use, every incident
has to be put up with reasonably and investigated by the IC.
Even a single illustration of forwarding an offensive joke or picture on social
media platforms can accelerate a complaint.
The sexual harassment of women at the workplace act compels employers to
administer education and sensitization programs and formulate policies against
Sexual Harassment, among other obligations.
Penalties for failure to comply
Failure to comply POSH Act could bring substantial penalties. Some of the
provisions under the
POSH Law includes the following:
In a situation the employer languishes to comprise an Internal Committee or
breaches provisions of this Act or any rules made thereunder, there shall be
punishable with ananda a fine of fifty thousand rupees (INR 50,000).
If any employer, after having been formally sentenced to an offense punishable
under the Act commits and is sentenced to the same offense, he shall be
accountable for twice the punishment.
Extended penalties shall be:
- Withdrawal or cancellation of his license.
- Non-renewal or cancellation of the registration
Consequences of non-compliance
- Offenses under the PoSH Law are not just illegal but can ascertain threatening
- Once secured under the law, the goodwill and image of the organization in
question get tarnished beyond development.
- Adversely impacts the growth & reputation of the organization
- A complaint of Sexual Harassment got fined by a woman in Chennai of Rs. 1.68
Crores for its failure to accept the law. Non-compliance can ask for trouble for
the management, and they even confront charges of abetment to the crime and
Stakeholders in the prevention of sexual harassment
Installation of systems and processes that govern the anti-sexual harassment
guidelines internally communicates the picture of a more developed organization.
It is the obligation of the management of every organization to assure absolute
submission to this law.
Human Resource manager
Assuring a safe and secure work environment for all its employees and gender
sensitization is the duty of HR. POSH sensitization and training for employees
is the first step in this regard.
Compliance and sensitization can enhance employee productivity and,
consequently, the outcome.
Reports inferred that executing such policies helps incentivize employees and
prepares them to feel a more comprehensive part of the organization.
Understanding laws mandated for employee safety gives them peace of mind and
encourages them to work adequately.
The principal management is accountable for strengthening the priorities &
public image of the company. A sound POSH policy helps ensure employees,
potential clients, and vendors as it provokes a feeling of trust and respect for
To empower a safe and gender-neutral work environment, an organization's
employees, managers & directors must be educated on what is and is not sexual
harassment under the POSH Act of India. For example, sexual harassment is not
only limited to its vastly prominent form, such as making inadequate progress.
It can also comprise unwelcome verbal or physical behavior that develops a
hostile work environment. Also, it is not restricted to the office area only and
can go beyond the work environment.
POSH training and guidelines allow employees to create a difference between
appropriate and inappropriate workplace behavior and educate them on the
definition & outcomes under the POSH Act.