How to select an "external member" for the Internal Complaints Committee?

It is highly important for a workplace to be POSH compliant and make your workplace a safer place for employees. Non-compliance can cost exemplary damages and monetary penalties.

It is mandatory to constitute an Internal Committee (IC) also known as the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in workplaces where there are 10 employees or more. At any incidence of sexual harassment, an employee can approach the organization’s Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) for complaint and redressal.
 

Composition of the Internal Committee under POSH Laws

There has to be a minimum of four members for the IC and half of the members mandatorily have to be women.
The employer has to nominate the following members:

  • A presiding officer who has to be a woman employed at a senior level, from amongst the employees.

  • Minimum two members amongst the employees, preferably committed to the cause of women, who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge.

  • One external member amongst an NGO or an organisation committed to the cause of women;

  • At least one-half of the members shall be women, at all times.
     

Who is an “External Member” under POSH?

Every Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) shall consist of one external member from a non-governmental organization committed to the cause of women or any person associated with or is aware of issues relating to sexual harassment.

The external member of the ICC acts as a neutral, impartial and expert member of the ICC in order to facilitate and expedite inquiries and consequent actions. The external member has to be given appropriate fee and allowances to carry out his/her functions.
 

Eligibility to be an “External Member”

The member must be from an NGO or an organisation that is committed to the cause of women, who has experience in dealing with cases related to sexual harassment. It could also be a person with a legal background having some expertise in the matter.

Do not include a member if he/she has been convicted of an offence or an inquiry is pending against him/her or he/she is found guilty in disciplinary proceedings or a disciplinary proceeding is pending against him.
 

How to choose an “External Member”?

It requires serious consideration before engaging an outsider as a member of ICC under the provisions of POSH Laws. Be wary of their past legal record, if any. Choose someone who has had an experience in dealing with sexual harassment issues. Make sure that the member is neutral, unbiased and has expertise in the field. 

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