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Legal Compliance Aspects Of Prevention Of Sexual Harassment (POSH)

By December 6, 2021November 10th, 2022Blogs, PoSH

Gone are the days when women had to silently endure sexual harassment in their workplaces.?The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (?POSH Act?)?passed in the year 2013, has given the courage to millions of women all over the globe to voice their support for the prevention of sexual harassment and work for the prohibition of any form of harassment in the workplaces. Organizations take the PoSti law compliance seriously and ensure that the workplaces are harassment-free. Women stand up for themselves and for each other in the workplace, and through training programs, both men and women are made to comprehend the impact of sexual harassment and its prevention and prohibition. Complaints are now investigated instantly and impartially to redress perpetrators immediately to offer safe workplaces for women.

Compliance laws and reporting – an overview:

Every organization must aspire to provide a?safe workplace?free from harassment to all its employees. As organisations grow in size and complexity, it is practically challenging to keep all employee-related issues, especially sexual harassment, in check. Reporting and compliance laws ensure that organisations track cases of sexual harassment and motivate women to come forward to report harassment to ensure the prevention and prohibition of such instances.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act,)?passed by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare in 2013, holds employees accountable for the prevention and prohibition of sexual harassment at the workplace and compliance by all organizations to provide a safe working space for women employees.

The POSH Act 2013?on what is mandatory.

The Basics:

According to POSH Act 2013, every entity with 10 or more employees must

  • Create an Internal Committee (IC) headed by a woman/female
  • Create a policy for the organisation outlining the?prevention and consequences of sexual harassment and assure compliance
  • Create and conduct training programmes on POSH for all the employees
  • Create an Annual Report specifically for POSH
  • Appoint a neutral ?External Member? or third party, an individual with commitment and expertise in sexual harassment compliance policies and laws, as a prime member of the committee. The member must not exhibit or have any association with the organization other than their capacity as an External Member of the Internal Committee.

POSH Annual Report Filing:

Here are the legal compliance aspects of the POSH Annual Report as per the POSH Act, 2013.

Responsibility

The Internal Committee (IC) must prepare and submit an annual report to the employer.

As per Section 21 of the Act, ?(I) The Internal Committee or the Local Committee shall in each calendar year prepare, in such form and when may be prescribed, an annual report and submit the same to the employer and the District Officer.?

As per Section 22 of the Act, ?The employer shall include in its report the number of cases filed, if any, their disposal under the PoSH Act in the annual report of the organisation. In cases where no such report is prepared, the employer must intimate the number of cases, if any, to the District Officer.?

Authority

The employer reviews and forwards this report to the District Officer (DO), who then has to summarise all the POSH annual reports in a document and submit it to the respective State Government.

As per?Section 23 of the Act, ?The appropriate Government shall monitor the implementation of this Act and maintain data on the number of cases filed and disposed of in respect of all cases of sexual harassment at workplace.?

Details

According to PoSH compliance procedures, the details to be specified in the District Officer?s report are:

  • No. of complaints received
  • No. of complaints disposed of
  • No. of cases pending for more than 90 days
  • No. of workshops/awareness programmes conducted and executed
  • Nature of action taken by the employer/DO to ensure compliance with complaints redressal.

Director?s Report

The Companies Act was amended such that each and every Annual Report must include a Director?s report on the Prevention Of Sexual Harassment, with effect from 31st July 2018. It must highlight compliance with the POSH Act and disclose the number of cases of sexual harassment. This report accompanies the Annual Return filing to the Registrar of Companies.

According to the?Companies Rules under Section 134 of the Companies Act, ?A statement that the Company has ensures compliance with provisions relating to the constitution of Internal Complaints Committee under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013? must be included in the company?s Annual Report.

Non-compliance

An employer can be subjected to a penalty of up to INR 50,000 for non-compliance acts like,

  • Failure to constitute Internal Committee at the workplace
  • Failure to assure compliance with or act upon recommendations of the Internal Committee
  • Failure to file an annual report to the District Officer where required
  • Contravening or attempting to contravene or abetting contravention of the Act or Rules.
  • Where an employer repeats a breach under the Act, they shall be subject to:
  • Twice the punishment or higher penalty, if prescribed under any other law for the same offence.
  • Cancellation/Withdrawal/Non-renewal of registration/license required for carrying on business or activities.

How and where to file?

The details of the template or format to file, where to file , and the address of the major district offices to file POSH Annual report can be downloaded from the link ?https://cecureus.com/sdm_downloads/posh-annual-report-filing/

Why is PoSH compliance essential?

Compliance with PoSH laws is integral,

  • For an organization to provide a safe and secure workplace for employees
  • For the protection of an organization and its brand value
  • To ensure the safety of third parties like contractors, vendors, and customers, who are visiting the premises. Under the PoSH compliance laws, third parties can file a complaint of sexual harassment that occurred at the workplace.
  • To handle sexual harassment complaints methodically without bias.
  • To ensure harassment prevention and prohibition, failing which the workplace becomes hostile for the employees, especially women.
  • To create awareness among employees about the effects of sexual harassment.

For more information on the Legal Compliance aspects of Posh and the services related to Prevention of Sexual Harassment(POSH), write to us at?connect@cecureus.com?or call us at +91-7200500221

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