The full form of “PoSH” in HR is “Prevention Of Sexual Harassment”.
The Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) Act, officially known as the "Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013", is a law in India designed to protect women and all employees from sexual harassment at the workplace.
PoSH Act was passed by the Indian Parliament in September 2013 and was a significant step towards creating a safe workplace environment for women in India.
In the HR context, it refers to designing policies, training, and guidelines to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace in corporate or professional settings.
Here’s a brief overview of the important features:
The Act provides a clear, legal definition of sexual harassment in the workplace. It includes any unwelcome sexual behavior, whether directly or by implication, such as physical contact and advances, demand or request for sexual favors, making sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, or any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
The Act mandates that all employers must set up an 'Internal Complaints Committee' (ICC) at each office or branch that has 10 or more employees. This Committee is responsible for receiving complaints of sexual harassment, conducting inquiries, and resolving the matter.
The Act includes provisions to protect the identity of the person who has experienced harassment, the respondent, and witnesses.
The Act includes measures to prevent the victim from facing retaliation due to their complaint. To ensure that, the act allows for a transfer of the victim or complainant to another workplace, grants leave for up to a period of three months, and other relief measures.
The Act includes penalties for employers who fail to comply with the provisions of the PoSH Act. It includes a fine of up to INR 50,000. It also includes penalties for false accusations.
PoSH covers every employee irrespective of gender and protects them against sexual harassment at all workplaces, both in the public and private sectors.
The PoSH Act is a significant step towards creating a safer and more inclusive workplace environment in India.
The full form of ICC is Internal Complaints Committee.
According to the PoSH Act, the Internal Committee must be comprised of:
A woman employed at a senior level in the workplace. If there is no senior-level woman employee, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from other offices or administrative units.
At least two members (preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge), are to be selected from amongst the employees.
One member from a non-governmental organization or association committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment.
The Act also stipulates that at least half the total members of the IC must be women.
An inquiry is conducted by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). It gives both parties involved a chance to be heard during the inquiry. The inquiry should complete within 90 days.
After the inquiry, if the person who committed such an act is found guilty then corrective action is taken by the ICC. Corrective action can include
This policy is designed to create a safe and inclusive environment for all employees, regardless of their gender, by outlining procedures to prevent and address incidents of sexual harassment. Do go through and make any necessary changes required for your company!
PoSH training is for all employees in a company. The members of the ICC also undergo special training regularly to handle complaints and be updated with laws.
The training is generally conducted to educate employees about what constitutes sexual harassment, how to prevent it, and what procedures to follow if harassment occurs.
The training usually covers legal definitions, company policies, and real-world examples to help participants understand the gravity and complexity of the issue. It often also involves role-playing exercises, case studies, and open discussions to make the training interactive and engaging.
There are online PoSH courses available that are given by the employer to employees. All employees must complete the course. When they do, they finish PoSH training.
An in-house HR specialized and certified in PoSH can also do the training for employees and the committee members. Alternatively, they may hire external experts or consultants to conduct the training. Some companies might also use online PoSH training modules, particularly if they have remote or distributed teams.
The PoSH act was passed by the Indian Parliament in September 2013.
The employer is responsible for to set up an internal committee. Generally, the HR team in a company takes care of it.
The complainant can file a complaint
Yes, every organization with 10 or more employees must have PoSH policy.
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