In order to provide protection to women against sexual harassment at workplace and for the prevention as well as redressal of complaints of sexual harassment, the legislature introduced the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and Rules (2013) (hereinafter collectively referred to as “POSH laws”). POSH laws require the employers to provide a safe working environment to women at their workplace.
The aggrieved women should inform about the incident to the Human Resource department of the Employer organization followed by submission of her complaint to the Internal Complaints Committee, describing the same comprising the details such as:
- Date of the incident,
- Time of the incident,
- Name of the accused party(ies) of the incident,
within a period of 3 months from the date of incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of three months from the date of last incident.
The POSH laws provide for the following remedies to the aggrieved women:
- Resolution or Settlement of dispute through conciliation;
- Submission of the complaint to the police under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman;
- Transfer the aggrieved woman or the respondent to any other workplace;
- Grant leave to the aggrieved woman up to a period of three months. The leave granted to the aggrieved woman shall be in addition to the leave she would be otherwise entitled;
- Tendering of written apology by the accused;
- Deduction of the salary or wages of the accused.
- Suspension/ Termination of the accused.
The Act and the Rules made thereunder is unquestionably a positive step in the direction of achieving equality in the workspace thus aiming at empowering working women to be at par with their male counter parts without the fear of harassment.