Long bygone are the days when “MAN” was the only responsible bread earner of the family. Now, we are in a digital era. Women go parallelly with men. However, similarly, Sexual Harassment at the workplace has carried a greater weightage and concern.
Sexual Harassment is gender discrimination that violates women’s fundamental right to equality and right to life guaranteed under Articles 14,15 and 21 of the Constitution. To enable a safe and inclusive workplace for women, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, and the rules therein (POSH Laws) were brought into force. The Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) at workplace Act is applicable applies to every workplace, establishment, company, or organization with more than 10 employees.
What is Sexual Harassment?
A man committing -
Unwelcoming physical contact;
Demand for sexual favors;
Showing pornography against the will of a woman;
Making sexual colored remarks
is said to have committed Sexual Harassment.
What is POSH Act?
To enable a safe and inclusive workplace for women, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, and the rules therein (POSH Laws) were brought into force. The Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) at workplace Act applies to every workplace, establishment, company, or organization with more than 10 employees.
What is Sexual Harassment under POSH Act?
According to Section 2(n) of the POSH Act, any of the following (either directly or by implication) shall include sexual harassment:
physical contact and advances;
a demand or request for sexual favors;
making sexually colored remarks;
any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
Section 3 of the POSH Act further widens the definition of sexual harassment by stating that any of the following also amount to sexual harassment:
implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in the victim’s employment;
implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in the victim’s employment;
implied or explicit threat about the victim’s present or future employment status;
interferes with the victim’s work or creates an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her and
humiliating treatment likely to affect the victim’s health or safety.
The POSH Act defines the terms ‘sexual harassment, ‘workplace’, and ‘aggrieved woman’, understanding of which is important to ensure a harassment-free environment at a workplace. It also gives mandates such as the constitution of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) that are to be followed by organizations/employers. Rules regarding the Local Complaints Committee, making of a complaint, and the inquiry by ICC are also covered extensively. Other duties of the employer such as providing a safe working environment and display of penal consequences of sexual harassment are also stated in the Act.
What is POSH Training?
Organizations need to ensure that their employees, managers, directors, etc. are educated upon what action(s) and/or words fall under sexual harassment, how to get justice if one has been harassed, and how not to cross limits so that you are not a harasser, one needs to be aware of what constitutes “sexual harassment” and the laws related to it in detail under POSH training to provide a safe and gender-neutral environment at the workplace. To be a POSH complaint, POSH training and sensitization of the employees is an absolute must.
What is the importance of POSH Training?
POSH training is crucial for an organization for the following important reasons:
POSH Training for Employees: It helps in making employees familiar with the best practice at work i.e. educates both genders on sexual harassment, trains them to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors at the workplace, and on the redressal system. Training makes employees understand the legal framework in this arena. Educating the women (and men) upon this issue, empowers the employees and promotes a safe, confident, and happier workplace.
POSH Training for Managers/Employers/Directors: Training the higher-ups is equally important to sensitize them towards gender equality. Since there is a difference in the power that these men/women hold as compared to the employees, it is crucial to educate them for a safe workplace so that they do not abuse their power against female employees. When the people in power are aware of sexual harassment, the laws, and the redressal system, the employees - especially the women would certainly feel safer at the workplace.
Internal Complaints Committee (ICC): According to the POSH Laws, every organization consisting of more than 10 employees has to form an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). This committee is required to be headed by a “female presiding officer”. The ICC receives and redresses complaints of sexual harassment. POSH training educates the ICC upon the issue of sexual harassment in great detail, thereby training it to efficiently handle complaints and resolve the conflicts related to sexual harassment.
What does POSH Training include?
The main aim of POSH training is to sensitize the individuals at the workplace of gender equality and to educate them on what constitutes sexual harassment, correct/incorrect behavior, the laws, and the repercussions involved in harassment at the workplace.
Does your organization need POSH training? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org