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How Does Posh Act Affect the Organization?

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 in Medha Kotwal Lele Vs Union of India (2013).

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 them.

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?

For employers

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 impartially.

For employees

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 Harassment.

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:
  1. Withdrawal or cancellation of his license.
  2. Non-renewal or cancellation of the registration

Consequences of non-compliance
  • Offenses under the PoSH Law are not just illegal but can ascertain threatening as well.
  • 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 criminal prosecution.

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.

Employees

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.

Senior Management

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 the organization.

Conclusion
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.

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