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Steps you can take to prevent Sexual Harassment at your Workplace

The Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013, more commonly known as the PoSH Act, 2013 aims at recognizing the adverse effects of sexual harassment at workplace and provides measures to deal with the same to ensure safe workplaces.

It is the duty of an employer to provide safe work spaces and environment for their employees. Any organization with ten or more employees is must be PoSH compliant. Posh-compliance ensures the prevention of sexual harassment at workplace. Here are a few steps that an employer or organization can take to prevent sexual harassment at workplace and ensure the well-being of their employees:

Make your Organization PoSH Compliant

Conducting PoSH training, workshops, and awareness programmes for employees

It is the duty of an employer to conduct training workshops and awareness programmes for their employees at regular intervals to sensitize them with the PoSH Act and Rules. Seminars and orientation programmes for the Internal Committee (IC) of an organization must also be conducted. Such workshops and seminars, especially when conducted at regular intervals, enable the employees to stay up-to-date with the PoSH law.

Ensuring the incorporation of  a PoSH Policy

The Act mandates every organization with 10 or more employees to have a PoSH Policy that defines their stand on sexual harassment at workplace, system for preventing it, and the procedure and services rules for preventing it. Further, an employer must also disseminate such Policy to promote gender-sensitive workplaces and eliminate underlying factors that contribute directly or indirectly to a sexual harassment at workplace.

Make your Organization PoSH Compliant

Implementing a Zero Tolerance Policy regarding sexual harassment at workplace

Needless to say that a company should have a clear zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment. If an employee is found guilty of sexually harassing a employee, colleague, or any staff member, penal consequences must be imposed, regardless of their position within the company.

Set up a Grievance Redressal Mechanism

Having a transparent grievance redressal mechanism increases the confidence of the employees in the organization they are working in. According to the Act, a complaint must be filed within 3 months from the date of the incident. Thereafter, the IC, only if requested by the aggrieved woman, aims for conciliation. In case conciliation is not possible, the IC must begin an inquiry into the complaint.

All employees must be well-aware of the redressal mechanism so they know where to know if they want to report any incident of sexual harassment at workplace.

Make your Organization PoSH Compliant

Prompt and efficient action on complaints

Any situation in which an employee expresses a concern should be addressed as quickly as possible. This is especially true when it comes to workplace sexual harassment. The clear procedures in place should make it possible to report the concern quickly and effectively.

According to the Act, after the inquiry into the complaint, the IC must prepare a report within 10 days and forward it to the employer or the organization who then takes action on the recommendations within 60 days. In case the employee is dissatisfied with the recommendations and the action taken on them, they can go to the court or tribunal.

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