General Queries

Are there any specific duties of an employer under law?

What happens if I do not fulfil the duties prescribed under law?

What are the preventive steps I can take as an employer?

Can I share details of a complaint on the POSH at Work website?

Can I ask for legal advice from POSH at Work?

 

IC & External Member related queries:

What is an IC?

I have 10 employees, do I need to have an IC?

I have 10 employees, none of whom are women, do I still need to have an IC?

What does an IC consist of?

Who can be an External Member?

Is there any fee for the External Member?

Is it mandatory to have an external member?

How to constitute an IC?

Is there a term for the IC?

Can an IC member be removed before completion of the term?

Is IC required to follow a procedure for hearing a complaint?

The IC of my organization is not familiar with the procedure under law, what can I do?

How can IC members handle complaints?

Is it mandatory to conduct training for IC?

 

Training and Awareness related queries:

Am I required to create awareness about prevention of sexual harassment amongst my employees?

How will training/workshop/seminar/awareness program help?

How will I know that the training/workshop/seminar/awareness program was effective?

Is it mandatory to conduct training for IC?

The IC of my organization is not familiar with the procedure under law, what can I do?

How can IC members handle complaints?

 

Poster related queries:

Is it mandatory for me to have a policy against sexual harassment?

How can I inform my employees about the policy?

Is it mandatory for me to display a poster in my organization?

My employees do not understand English, what do I do?

Is it possible to have my organization’s logo on the poster?

Are there any samples?

How do I pay for the posters?

 

Are there any specific duties for an employer under law?

Yes. The law has provided for several duties of an employer. Some of them are:

  • Provide a safe working environment at workplace which includes safety from persons coming into contact at workplace.
  • Display at any conspicuous place in the workplace, the penal consequences of sexual harassment and the order constituting the Internal Committee (“IC“).
  • Formulate and widely disseminate an internal policy for prohibition, prevention and redressal of sexual harassment.
  • Declare the names and contact details of all the members of IC.
  • Organize workshops and awareness programs at regular intervals for sensitizing employees.
  • Organize orientation programs for IC members.
  • Conduct capacity building and skill building programs for IC members.
  • Carry out employees awareness programs and create forum for dialogue.
  • Use modules developed by State Government to conduct workshops and awareness programs.

You can read through to understand how you can comply with these duties. Needless to say, we are there to help you at each stage, if required.

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What happens if I do not fulfil the duties prescribed under law?

If you do not constitute the IC and fulfil the rest of the duties enshrined under the Act, there can be a penalty under the law which may extend to Rs. 50,000. In case of not fulfilling the duties repeatedly, the penalty can be doubled and in cases where one is required to obtain a license to do business, such license may be cancelled or an application for registration or renewal may be withdrawn and cancelled.

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What are the preventive steps I can take as an employer?

You can:

  • Organize regular training programs for your IC members so that they are fully up to date on the law and the procedure.
  • Organize awareness programs for employees on a time to time basis to keep them informed of their rights and duties and what may constitute sexual harassment.
  • Organize sessions for management so that they can comply with the law effectively and take measures to prevent instances of sexual harassment and create a healthy work atmosphere.
  • Have orientation programs for new joinees to inform them of your beliefs and policy.
  • Have gender sensitization programs to instil the feeling of equality at workplace. This can go a long way in showing that you are an equal opportunity employer.
  • Ensure that your IC meets on a regular basis to discuss issues and keep themselves updated.
  • Provide your IC with all the facilities they require.

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Can I share details of a complaint on the POSH at Work website?

No. We request you not to display / share details of any matter of sexual harassment or the identities of the concerned persons, as this is a public forum.

The law provides that any information related to a matter of sexual harassment cannot be published, communicated or made known to the public, press or media in any manner.

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Can I ask for legal advice from POSH at Work?

Yes. You can drop your query or ask for a lawyer here. We will be more than happy to help you.

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What is an IC?

An Internal Committee (“IC“), as the name suggests, is an internal committee of a workplace to look into and redress complaints of sexual harassment. Every employer that has 10 or more employees, must constitute an IC.

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I have 10 employees, do I need to have an IC?

Yes

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I have 10 employees, none of whom are women, do I still need to have an IC?

Yes

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What does an IC consist of?

An IC consists of a minimum of four members:

  1. A Presiding Officer who has to be a woman employed at a senior level at workplace. She has to be from amongst the employees.
  2. Two Members from amongst employees. The law says that for these two members, employers should prefer to have employees who are committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge.
  3. One Member from amongst non-governmental organisations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment (“External Member”).

The law also states that at least half of the total Members of the IC should be women.

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Who can be an External Member?

Anyone from amongst NGOs or associations that are committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment.

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Is there any fee for the External Member?

Yes, the External Member appointed from amongst the NGOs or associations is entitled to an allowance by the employer, of Rs. 200 per day for holding the proceedings of the IC and also the reimbursement of travel cost.

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Is it mandatory to have an external member?

Yes. A third party independent member is a must.

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How to constitute an IC?

Every employer of a workplace has to constitute an IC by an order in writing.

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Is there a term for the IC?

Yes, all the IC members can hold office for three years.  

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Can an IC member be removed before completion of the term?

Yes, the law provides for certain situations in which an IC member can be removed from the IC before completion of the term. The vacancy has to be refilled in accordance with provisions of the law.

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Is IC required to follow a procedure for hearing a complaint?

Yes. The law has provided for a procedure.

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The IC of my organization is not familiar with the procedure under law, what can I do?

You can train your IC on how to handle complaints.

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How can IC members handle complaints?

IC members have to be regularly trained on the law and how they should handle complaints of sexual harassment i.e. how they can help the aggrieved woman file a complaint, how they can make her feel better, how to inform the alleged harasser, how to conduct the inquiry etc.

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Is it mandatory to conduct training for IC?

Yes

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Am I required to create awareness about prevention of sexual harassment amongst my employees?

Yes

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How will training/workshop/seminar/awareness program help?

  • These kind of sessions will ensure that your employees are aware of their rights as well as responsibilities.
  • It will also show that you have taken actual steps to prevent instances of sexual harassment.
  • It will help your IC deal with complaints in a much better manner.
  • It will instil faith of the employees in the organization.
  • It will create gender sensitive work environment.
  • If conducted in a manner not to scare employees to work with the opposite gender but to work in a healthy environment respecting the equal right of each other to work in that environment, would lead to positivity and work productivity.

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How will I know that the training/workshop/seminar/awareness program was effective?

We have several ways to ensure that the sessions are effective. If you have any queries to seek to discuss this in detail, please contact us.

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Is it mandatory to conduct training for IC?

Yes

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The IC of my organization is not familiar with the procedure under law, what can I do?

You can train your IC on how to handle complaints.

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How can IC members handle complaints?

IC members have to be regularly trained on the law and how they should handle complaints of sexual harassment i.e. how they can help the aggrieved woman file a complaint, how they can make her feel better, how to inform the alleged harasser, how to conduct the inquiry etc.

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Is it mandatory for me to have a policy against sexual harassment?

Yes

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How can I inform my employees about the policy?

You can inform your employees by the following:

  • Circulate the policy to your employees on email
  • Publish it on the website or intra-net
  • Display posters at conspicuous places in the workplace

The additional benefit of displaying posters is that not only the employees but also the visitors shall be made aware of the policy. This could prevent unwanted behaviour from visitors.

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Is it mandatory for me to display a poster in my organization?

The law has prescribed for the following duties of the employer –

  • Provide a safe working environment at workplace which includes safety from persons coming into contact at workplace.
  • Display at any conspicuous place in the workplace, the penal consequences of sexual harassment and the order constituting the IC.
  • Formulate and widely disseminate an internal policy for prohibition, prevention and redressal of sexual harassment.
  • Declare the names and contact details of all the members of IC.

Posters can be the best way to comply with the above provisions of law, especially given the visual impact that posters can create in the minds of employees as well as visitors. These can go a long way in instilling faith of the employees in the organization, preventing instances of sexual harassment and creating a safer work environment.

In fact, we have posters in all Indian languages to ensure that your message reaches all stakeholders, in whichever language they understand. You can request for a poster from here.

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My employees do not understand English, what do I do?

We have posters in all Indian languages. You can also suggest us any other details you want, such as, size of the poster, colour combination etc. You can choose the language you want your poster in here.

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Is it possible to have my organization’s logo on the poster?

Yes. You can also suggest us any other details you want, such as, size of the poster, colour combination etc. You can upload your logo and request for your poster here.

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Are there any samples?

Yes. Please contact us if you wish to see samples.

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How do I pay for the posters?

We have options such as bank transfer, cash on delivery and online payment. Kindly let us know whichever is suitable for you.

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