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

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013: you can Escape Onerous Consequences by Adhering to Very Simple Procedures.

The law, by the name of “The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013” (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) became effective from 9th December, 2013.

APPLICABILITY OF THE ACT:

The Act is applicable on all the Workplaces, (irrespective of no. of female employees), whether owned by Indian or foreign company having a place of business in India s.a.:

  • All Government organizations, including Government company, corporations and cooperative societies;
  • All Private sector organisations, venture, society, trust, NGO or service providers etc. providing services which are commercial, vocational, educational, sports, professional, entertainment, industrial, health related or financial activities, including production, supply, sale, distribution or service;
  • Hospitals/Nursing Homes;
  • Sports Institutes/Facilities;
  • Any enterprise owned by an individual, engaged in the production or sale of goods or providing services of any kind;

MANDATES UNDER THE ACT:

The Act obligates Employer of every Workplace to:

  • Draft and communicate a detailed Policy Prevention of Sexual Harassment (“PoSH”);
  • Create awareness and orientation on the issue by way of seminars/workshops/ awareness programmes;
  • Display at conspicuous places, name and details of member of LCC, awareness posters etc.;

Additionally, if the no. of Employees is 10 or more (irrespective of no. of female employees), Employer requires to:

  • Constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to provide redressal mechanism to every working woman for her complaint(s) through a written order;
  • Prepare an Annual Report and submit the same to Local Complaints Committee (LCC)

*ICC needs to be composed of at least 3 Internal members and 1 External member.

Internal Complaints Committee (ICC):

Internal members: mean members from within the Organisation.

External Member: From amongst NGO/associations committed to the cause of women or a person/ lawyer familiar with the issue of Sexual Harassment.

PENALTY FOR NON-COMPLIANCES:

  • An employer can be subjected to a penalty of up to INR 50,000 for:
    • Failure to constitute Internal Complaints Committee
    • Failure to act upon recommendations of the Complaints Committee; or
    • Failure to file an annual report to the District Officer where required; or
    • Contravening or attempting to contravene or abetting contravention of the Act or Rules.
  • in case of subsequent violations, the amount of fine will be double together with penalty in the form of cancelation of his licence, withdrawal or non-withdrawal of the registration required for carrying out his activity.

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