Creating an Awareness on PoSH Act 2013

An Act which clearly explains about the accepted and not accepted behavior, where 10 or more than 10 working at any place.

At times, women are confused with complement and Sexual harassment. There is a thin line to be understood before complaining. As per the Act, the Aggrieved woman should talk to the person first about the comment or behavior whether it is Verbal/Non-verbal or Physical, and how uncomfortable they feel about the same.

If the opposite gender continues to behave in the same way, then the woman should complain to the Internal Committee in writing and not to the HR manager once the Internal Committee (IC) is constituted as prescribed by the Act.

Difference between Complement and Sexual Harassment?

In this modern world, everyone wants to carry themselves in their own way which expresses their color sense and the creativity by designing their own costumes.

Let us not forget that everyone has the right to complement each other. However, accepting the complement is in the individual’s hand. At the same time one should understand the difference between complement and Sexual Harassment.

A complement with sexually colored remark is to be reported to the Internal Committee (IC) only and not the HR Department. There is a lack of understanding between the complement and Sexual Harassment among woman.

Let’s try to understand from the below example

Ex: You look pretty today is a complement

Ex: You look pretty today, “any special appointment with our Manager/boss” - is a sexually colored complement.

The organization or the Internal Committee cannot not be blamed if the complaint is not given in writing. At the same time the Internal Committee (IC) should publicize the details of the IC member and External Member, by circulating it through emails and posting in the notice boards where it is visible to the workforce.

Moreover, it is the duty of the Internal Committee to organize Training Programs to create awareness periodically.

In some cases, Women are not oriented towards the process of complaining and Men are not oriented about the accepted behavior and not accepted behavior as per the PoSH Act, 2013 in the organization while being in the workplace and the extended workplace.

Few subtle signs of Sexual Harassment:

Not all unwelcome behavior have to be sexual in nature. Any unwelcome kind of physical contact that makes a person uncomfortable is categorized as sexual harassment.

  • Patting on a person’s back,
  • Rubbing someone’s shoulder,
  • Putting hand over the shoulder,
  • Subtly brushing against another person’s body,
  • Physically blocking a person’s movement, or even leaning closer to a person

are some subtle forms of sexual harassment. Some of these may look unintentional, but if the person at the receiving end finds it uncomfortable, and the behavior continues, it can be considered as sexual harassment.

The need of conducting “Capacity and Skill building” Training program

The Internal Committee (IC) members should be trained to be unbiased during the inquiry process, where the Skill and Capacity Building Training Programs helps the IC Members to treat the Respondent with respect until guilt is proved by collecting the evidences of the complaint.

Conducting annual/half yearly and quarterly Awareness Training Program on PoSH Act, 2013 will bring down the number of Sexual Harassment complaints and modifies the behavior which increases the productivity and credibility of the organization.

These training programs emphasis the need of Fraternization in the workplace to move towards Zero Tolerance.

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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  • Fine, simple awareness article.
  • nice article (information). It is an awareness article. I request the author to publish more empirical research papers in future. My blessings & best wishes to her. Dr. Narayanan Ramachandran.
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