It was in 2013 when the Government of India made changes to existing rules of Vishakha guidelines to implement the POSH Act.
Let’s first see what is the POSH Act, 2013
POSH Act, 2013 is the prevention, protection, and redressal of sexual harassment in the workplace. It defines what actually constitutes sexual harassment and the ways to prevent, protect and address the same. With the implementation of POSH Act, it was mandatory for every organisation having more than ten employees to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee that provides a formal mechanism for addressing sexual harassment at the workplace popularly called as ICC.
A recent study had shown an alarming statistics indicating a 45% rise in sexual harassment cases at the workplace over the last 3 years. With the rising cases of sexual harassment at the workplace and with the mandatory implementation of POSH guidelines, the organisations have to compulsorily conduct effective training programs on POSH to create awareness among the employees.
In this blog, let’s find out why POSH training is becoming a mandatory compliance training in all the organizations.
1.Ensures a Healthy Working Environment and Enhances Productivity
For any organization, employees are their biggest assets and providing a healthy and safe work environment to their employees is the responsibility. of every organization. Imagine a scenario, when you loose a top performing employee, as she had to face sexual harassment at her workplace. This will damage the reputation of the organization and at the same time can affect productivity. It can also create a negative feeling of an unsafe working environment and a sense of insecurity among the other women employees.
To avoid this, organisations should mandatorily train all their employees on POSH and make them aware of the guidelines and its serious repercussions. This can increase awareness among the employees and thus help in creating a positive working environment and bring harmony at work.
2. Safeguards The Name, Fame and Reputation
Name, fame and reputation are the intangible assets that a company earns through the years with their good practices and values. Sexual harassment reported at a reputed or popular organization invites continuous media lynching which can completely damage the reputation, name, and fame of the company, which it has built painfully over the years. New female employees may refrain from joining such organisations and sometimes it can even lead to people boycotting their services and products. Remember the infamous #DeleteUber’ hashtag campaign which called for stopping the usage of Uber services. The outrage was sparked by a blog post in which a former employee detailed the sexual harassment she allegedly experienced at the company.
3. Prevents Financial Impact
Reputed multinational companies have been fined and are liable to pay huge penalties due to non-compliance with the POSH Act. A case in point is a large telecom company who did not comply with the POSH Act and had to suffer heavy penalties. With the rules and regulations becoming more strict, it becomes impossible for the organisations to flout the policies or take it for granted. This again calls for effective POSH training or POSH E-Learning to ensure the employees are aware of the POSH policies and guidelines. In 2002, the infamous settlement between Infosys ex-director Phaneesh Murthy and his secretary amounted to $3 million. Similarly Uber saw a loss of $703 million after several cases of sexual harassment cases were reported against its employees and contractual workforce.
These are some examples of a financial repercussion faced by reputed organizations, when there were cases of sexual harassment reported. Such financial repercussions can become a nightmare for the organisations and can even increase depending on the gravity of the incidents.
Hence it’s a no-brainer to implement e-learning on POSH at a smaller fraction of this cost to make the employees aware of the POSH guidelines.
4. Upholds Good Corporate Governance Practices
As per the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, 2013, there are 2 reports to be submitted by the employer:
1. The ICC is required to submit to the employer an annual report, which includes the number of sexual harassment cases reported and redressed in every calendar year which in turn needs to be reported to the LCC/District Officer.
2. Besides this, the employer has a statutory obligation to ensure this report is included in the annual report of the organization filed with the Registrar of Companies (ROC).
In the annual report, an organization (especially a listed company) would not want to show a trend of rising sexual harassment as it can lead to loss of reputation and trust among the shareholders. Besides this may also hurt the investor sentiment and lead to a decline in share price and erosion of market capitalization.
The best solution is to train the employees effectively on POSH to ensure that the employees are aware of what constitutes sexual harassment and are able to identify and report any incidents of sexual harassment within the organization . While the POSH Act’s beneficiaries are women, the complete workforce of the organisation should be trained on POSH so that they can effectively contribute towards preventing and addressing it at the workplace. As goes the age-old adage- ” Prevention is better than cure”.
If you are looking at training your employees on POSH, we have an award-winning e-learning module. You can click here to view the sample.
To experience sample of our POSH employee module please click on the image below