On this International Women’s day, when people use the online social networks and apps like WhatsApp to sends and shares hundreds of Women’s day messages it is important that we take a look back to the previous year- 2018. What had started as a #metoo movement from the Hollywood industry spread through various organizations and corporates to reveal the most spine chilling cases of sexual harassment against women at the workplace.
But the bigger question that comes to my mind is – how did so many incidents managed to go unreported and not exposed before the law?
Despite the existence of the powerful act of Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013(POSH-2013) it’s quite surprising to see that many incidents go unreported primarily because of the ‘the lack of awareness’ amongst the women employees regarding POSH-2013 Act.
Hence here are 5 very important things every woman must know about sexual harassment at the workplace
1.Right to no sexual harassment
The PoSH Act, 2013 recognizes that sexual harassment constitutes a violation of fundamental rights of women and their right to life and to live with dignity and carry on any profession, trade, or business in an environment free from sexual harassment. Also, section 19 of the Act prescribes the employer to provide a safe working environment at the workplace, which shall include safety from the persons coming into contact at the workplace.
2.Right to seek redressal
As per the Sexual Harassment Act 2013, it is now mandatory for every organization consisting of more than 10 employees to form an Internal Complaint Committee (ICC, is constituted under section 4 of the Sexual Harassment Act 2013), wherein the complaints of Sexual Harassment can be filed, inquired and processed, for granting relief to the woman aggrieved. You are required to complain, in writing, to the Internal Complaint Committee or – in its absence – to the Local Committee in your area.
3.Right to file a criminal complaint
The complainant/victim has the right to file a criminal complaint if she is a woman and organisations and ICCs are required to provide support, as requested.
4.Right to anonymity
According to section 16 of the Sexual Harassment Act, victims of who are sexually harassed have a right to confidentiality. The contents of the complaint, identity and address of the aggrieved woman, respondent and witness, information relating to conciliation and inquiry proceedings , recommendations of the ICC or the LCC and the action taken by the employer or the District Officer shall not be published, communicated or made known to the public, press and media.
5.You are covered under the act if you are an employee (part-time, full-time or an intern)
Irrespective of being a contract worker, permanent workers or an intern, the POSH act of 2013 ensures that all Women employees are covered under the act.
Sexual harassment at the workplace still exists and it’s high time that we weed out this evil from the organisation and society at large. And the best way out is spreading and creating awareness through POSH Online training programs. Wondering why I suggest online PoSH training?
Read my blog to find out more. You can also explore our award-winning POSH e-learning here