The Ministry of Corporate Affairs vide Notification G.S.R 725 E dated 31 July 2018 has mandated the disclosure of the level of compliance relating to the constitution of the Internal Complaints Committee under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 (‘POSH’).
We have compiled the important provisions in connection with POSH hereunder.
- Every employer of a workplace that comprises of 10 or more employees, shall constitute an Internal Complaints Committee to inquire into complaints alleging sexual harassment at the workplace.
What is Sexual Harassment?
- Sexual harassment has been defined to include any of the following unwelcome acts
- physical contact and advances; or
- a demand or request for sexual favours; or
- making sexually coloured remarks; or
- showing pornography; or
- any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature;
- The presence of any of the following circumstances in relation to or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment would result in a complaint under POSH
- implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment: or
- implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment; or
- implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status: or
- interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her; or
- humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.
- ‘Workplace’ not only includes offices in private or public sectors, but also includes hospitals, places visited by the employee during the course of employment and even a dwelling place / house.
Composition of the Internal Complaints Committee
- The ICC comprises of
- Presiding Officer who shall be a woman employed at a senior level within the organisation. In the absence of such senior woman employee, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from other senior officers.
- not less than two Members from amongst employees, preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge;
- one member from amongst (External member)
- non-governmental organisations or
- associations committed to the cause of women or
- a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment
- At least 50% of the ICC shall comprise of women employees.
Meetings and Reporting Requirements
- It is advisable that the ICC meets at least on quarterly basis, even in the absence of any complaints, to assess the degree of compliance with POSH.
- It shall be the responsibility of the employer to conduct workshops on POSH at regular intervals for sensitising the employees with the provisions of POSH.
- The ICC shall prepare and submit an Annual Report for each calendar year by 31 Jan of succeeding year.
- The report shall be submitted to the District Officer under POSH and a copy may be sent to the Labour Department as well.
- The report shall comprise of details of number of complaints received in the year, the complaints disposed in the year, complaints outstanding for 90 days or more and number of workshops conducted in the year.
- If the ICC receives a complaint, the Annual Report shall also detail the action taken by the employer to address the complaint.
- G.S.R 725 E now requires the Board of Directors of every company to include a statement in their Director’s Report about the compliance with the requirements of POSH. Non-disclosure will lead to penal consequences.