The scope of POSH (Prevention of sexual harassment) at workplace laws is very wide as it aims to protect every possible working woman and give her the means to seek redressal on issues of workplace harassment. Accordingly, every person running an organisation or a workplace needs to comply with the laws prescribed in the POSH at Workplace Act.
There are multiple compliances that an employer has to fulfill from mechanism for redressal of sexual harassment to prevention/prohibition and monitoring compliance.
As the first step in prevention/prohibition compliance, every organisation must adopt an anti-sexual harassment policy. The anti-sexual harassment policy is meant to highlight the organisation’s zero-tolerance stance in so far as sexual harassment at workplace is concerned.
Keep the following points in mind while drafting the POSH policy:
In order for the policy to be effective, you must mention “who must comply with the policy”. In other words, explain who the policy is for and who all it is binding on.
It is highly important to state what constitutes sexual harassment at workplace which includes physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography- as has been mentioned in the POSH at Workplace Act.
Elucidate what are the dos and don’ts when dealing with sexual harassment at workplace.
The methods of complaining and seeking redressal must also be stated clearly in the policy like who should be approached in case a person has a complaint and the procedure to file a complaint.
If employees are not aware of the Internal Committee members who need to be approached in case of a complaint, then the policy would be redundant. It is necessary to communicate the same to all employees effectively.
Please note that the strength of any policy lies in its enforcement, and as an employer, it is your duty to enforce the same lest it would be ineffective and mere paper-work.
Here are some of the ways to effectively enforce the POSH policy:
One of the key methods to enforce and implement the POSH policy at workplace is Training. The POSH laws mandate every employer to train his employees in sexual harassment at workplace by conducting seminars, workshops, awareness camps etc in order to sensitise the employees about the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
Sometimes boundaries of professional conduct are unclear in a workplace. It is important for an employer to establish those boundaries and secure your workplace from having a hostile work environment.