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The POSH Act for Women, against Harassment at Workplace

The POSH Act, or the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, is an important piece of legislation in India aimed at ensuring safe working environments for women. Here are key aspects of the POSH Act:

Key Features of the POSH Act:

  1. Definition of Sexual Harassment:
    • The Act provides a comprehensive definition of sexual harassment, including physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favors, making sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, and any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
  2. Scope and Coverage:
    • The Act covers all women, irrespective of their age or employment status, and protects them from sexual harassment at the workplace.
    • It applies to both the organized and unorganized sectors.
  3. Employer’s Duties:
    • Employers are required to provide a safe working environment.
    • They must display the penal consequences of sexual harassment and the composition of the Internal Committee (IC).
    • Employers are also responsible for organizing workshops and awareness programs to sensitize employees about the Act.
  4. Redressal Mechanism:
    • Internal Committee (IC): Every workplace with 10 or more employees must constitute an Internal Committee to address complaints of sexual harassment.
    • Local Committee (LC): At the district level, a Local Committee is to be constituted by the government for workplaces with fewer than 10 employees and for dealing with complaints against employers themselves.
  5. Complaint Process:
    • A written complaint must be submitted to the IC within three months of the incident. The IC can extend this period if it is satisfied with the reasons provided.
    • The IC/LC is required to complete the inquiry within 90 days.
  6. Conciliation:
    • The Act allows for conciliation between the complainant and the respondent before initiating an inquiry, but only at the request of the complainant.
  7. Punishment and Compensation:
    • If the IC/LC finds the respondent guilty, it can recommend actions ranging from a written apology, warning, reprimand, to termination.
    • The Act also provides for financial compensation to the victim.
  8. Confidentiality:
    • The identity of the complainant, respondent, and witnesses, along with the proceedings and recommendations of the IC/LC, must be kept confidential.
  9. False Complaints:
    • The Act discourages false complaints by allowing for action against those who file malicious complaints. However, it also ensures that mere inability to substantiate a complaint does not attract action against the complainant.

Significance of the POSH Act:

  • Protection and Empowerment: The Act empowers women to speak out against harassment and provides a structured mechanism for redressal.
  • Workplace Safety: It mandates employers to create safe and respectful workplaces, which can enhance productivity and morale.
  • Legal Recourse: It provides a legal framework for addressing complaints, ensuring justice and support for victims.

The POSH Act represents a significant step towards creating safer work environments and addressing the issue of sexual harassment in India comprehensively.


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