Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace

To tackle the problem of Sexual Harassment at workplace, the government introduced the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (the “Act”) in 2013. However, despite the introduction of the Act, the menace of Sexual Harassment of women at work is still widely prevalent in corporate India. Year after year, India Inc has growing cases of Sexual Harassment of women at workplace, some being very high profile cases and companies. Last year CEO of comedy channel resigned from his post following allegations of sexual harassment from several female employees, last month a famous Venture Capital investor was arrested in Mumbai for alleged sexual harassment. Officially, about two women were harassed at their workplace in India every day so far in 2017, with the National Commission for Women (NCW) receiving an average of 1.7 complaints per day. However, the cases reported to the NCW represent only the tip of the iceberg. According to sexual harassment laws, complaints are first expected to be addressed by an internal complaints committee or district complaints committee in the case of unorganised sector workers.

Despite the introduction of redressal systems women continue to refrain from filing complaints as most workplaces are still dominated by men. There is a problem with the existing system is that there are no penalties for internal committees not acting on complaints, or in many cases further harassing the survivors. Eight out of 10 firms do not have a functional committee. While the big ones are more sincere in putting in place a system, The majority of them fail in addressing the concerns of women, and no legal action is taken.

The Supreme Court last month asked the NGO Initiative for Inclusion Foundation (IIF) to give suggestions for the effective implementation of a law to curb sexual harassment of women at workplaces, particularly in the private sector. Appearing for the IIF, senior counsel Sanjay Parikh said there was no implementation of the law in private companies.

 

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

 Introduction & Background of Law:

  • The Evolution of law
  •  Salient features
  • Important definitions including sexual harassment

 Identifying Sexual Harassment:

  • Types of Sexual harassment: Quid Pro Quo & Hostile Work Environment
  • Unwelcome & Intent v/s Impact
  • Sexual Harassment involving third parties & varying authorities

Know the Law

  • Employer’s Duties
  • The role and responsibilities of the Internal Complaints Committee (Internal Committee) & Presiding Officer
  • The Complaint process
  • Manner of Holding an Inquiry
  • Malicious complaints
  • Reporting
  • Penalties

Recourse against Sexual harassment with Case Studies:

  • Redressal options and procedure
  • Rights of Aggrieved Women
  • Corresponding options and procedure
  • Rights of Respondent

Investigation and Conciliation Procedure

  • Conducting Internal Inquiry
  • Investigation Techniques and Tools
       - Sources of evidence
       - Investigative interviews
       - Dealing with deceit
       - Questioning techniques
       - Documentation

Law & Police procedures

 

POSH – Recent Judicial Trends

Recent Judicial Trends – Analysis of Judgements

Recommendations for Companies:

  • Preventive Measures
  • Corrective Measures
  • Creation of an Overall Gender Sensitised Workplace
Shivangi Prasad
Partner
Posh At Work

She holds a B.L.S.LL.B. Degree from the prestigious Government Law College, Mumbai. She is an advocate, specialising in corporate laws and laws related to women and child rights, including the law on sexual harassment of women at workplace. Her background boasts of the weight of her funnelling experience in such matters. She provides her expert legal advice on these laws and several organisations are supported by her presence as an external member of their Internal Committee (IC). She plays an active role in formulation of policies against all forms of harassment and also helps in implementing the same, besides conducting detailed training / awareness programs on the law and investigating into complaints filed within the organisation.

In 2015, she co-authored a legal commentary titled ‘Handbook on the law of Sexual Harassment,’ which was published and marketed by none other than Thomson Reuters. The key objective was to provide not just a legal commentary for the legal practitioners, but also provide a practical handbook for company managers in human resource, administration and compliance functions, directors and very importantly the members of the complaints committee who would have to deal with complaints made under the Act. 

Shivangi defines sexual harassment as the “behavioural execution of a defective, discriminating, imposing mentality to cause discomfort, shame and insult.” She founded “POSH at Work” with a vision to create and spread awareness about the need for gender sensitive workplaces. She believes it is not an option. It is the only solution. Both legally and morally.


Avikshit Moral
Partner
Juris Corp

He has over 10 years of experience. He started his career in Mumbai with Manilal Kher  Ambalal & Co. Over the years he has acquired extensive experience in the fields ofconveyancing, redevelopment, joint ventures, structured transactions involving various laws, complex structuring and corporate commercial laws. He is involved in drafting and negotiations of various commercial contracts, advising on society law related matters and advising various high net individuals on issues pertaining to personal law and inheritance.

 

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act,2013 (“POSH”) related work:

➢ Advising on matters involving compliance and interpretation of provisions of POSH

➢ Conducting sessions for various corporates on the provisions of POSH

➢ Assisting various clients in formation of Internal Complaints Committee and drafting of
the policy in accordance with the provisions of POSH.


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