Awareness on PoSH Act, 2013 - Prevention-Prohibition-Redressal

PoSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment at workplace for woman) is to uphold working woman’s fundamental right to equality and dignity at workplace.

It is an Act with effect from 2013 for the social cause of a woman at workplace, where it defines about the workplace, the accepted behavior and unaccepted behavior verbally, non-verbally and physically under various circumstances.

It is a compliance which is mandatory where ten or more than ten members are working in any place. Since the word woman is in the Act, it doesn’t mean that the woman should only attend such program. The training session is to create awareness among both genders to sensitize and not about the behavior of any specific gender.

It is meant for both the genders to know what are the behaviors considered as a Sexual Harassment (Verbal / Non-Verbal & Physical). This awareness program helps the women to know, the appropriate authorities to be approached, the time frame required to complain after the incident, how to write a complaint, the Redressal Mechanism process, and the importance of setting up a boundary at work, to be professional.

What is Prevention of sexual harassment?

The Act says, no woman shall be subjected to sexual Harassment at any workplace either implied or explicit and it is defined in the Act.

What is Prohibition of Sexual harassment?

This means having a policy that

  1. Prohibits unwelcome behavior,
  2. Campaigns through orientation, awareness, and sensitization sessions and
  3. Provides a detailed framework for redressal.

What is Redressal?

  1. It provides information on who can complain,
  2. To whom and what a complaint should contain,
  3. Information about the process, findings and recommendations.

What can an employee/worker expect?

When it comes to redressal at workplace for sexual harassment, employee/worker has a right to expect and get advice from a trained, skilled, and competent Complaints committee, time bound process, assurance of information confidentiality, non-retaliation, counselling, or other necessary support, if needed.

Simple steps to prevent Sexual harassment at workplace.

  1. Create an Anti-harassment policy (aligning with the service rules)
  2. Clearly define the protocol responding to sexual harassment
  3. Train your employees to prevent and report sexual harassment complaints.

It is important to note that the PoSH Act, 2013 provides for a civil remedy to a woman who reports instances of sexual harassment at workplace.

All the workplaces in India are mandated by law to provide a safe and secure working environment free from sexual harassment for all women.

Six steps to practice in any workplace to convert the concepts into execution:

  1. Make sure that there is a Policy which has been effectively communicated to all workers
  2. Display details of formal/informal ways available to workforce for redressal of their sexual harassment complaints.
  3. Conduct orientation training programs on workplace sexual harassment for all the workforce at regular intervals.
  4. Senior persons/Leaders or any person can be encouraged to influence employment related decisions, to become a role model.
  5. A complaints committee which is trained in terms of skill and capacity to build trust.

Both men and women should be included in building a culture which no longer tolerates workplace sexual harassment.

About the Author

Mrs. Ramaharan is a Trainer & Consultant with15+years of experience in Learning and Development. She is an External Member (PosH Cell) of Anna University, Chennai.

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