Ancient times led women to stick to the boundary of their house surrounded by her husband, in-laws, family and household chores. But in 21st century women have become more independent and works and supports her family equally alike a men. Women nowadays are becoming more responsible towards their career but biggest challenge that lies in their path is of a healthy and safe environment for her.
In order to understand the subject matter better it is primary for us to understand what these terminologies actually mean. Sexual harassment is touching a woman without her will or consent. It does not only include physical assault but also mental assault. And workplace is a place where both men and women work shares equal responsibility, integrity and respect.
Just supporting a woman is not a responsibility of an employer but to be very focused upon the fact that no form of sexual harassment surrounds the workplace should be the primary concern and to aid the same in India we have POSH Act i.e. Prevention Of Sexual Harassment formally known as Sexual Harassment Of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act. The Act is in unison with Article 21 of the Indian constitution which guarantees “Right to Life” popularly known as Nirbhaya Act.
As per the POSH guidelines-
1. Sexual Harassment includes-
• Physical contact or advances
• A demand or request for sexual favours
• Sexually coloured remarks
• Showing pornography
• Unwelcomed physical, verbal or nonverbal conduct of sexual nature
2. Every organization or institution pertaining more than 10 employees must consist an INTERNAL COMPLAINT COMMITTEE (ICC).
3. ICC must have-
• A presiding officer (senior most woman employee)
• 2 members- experienced in social work and legal knowledge.
• 1 member- from NGO related to cause of women.
• Term of all members- 3 years.
4. At district level there must be a Local Complaints Committee (LCC) the purpose behind the establishment of same is to receive complaints from the establishment having less than 10 employees or if the complaint is against the employer himself.
5. LCC must have-
• Chairperson- women
• 1 member- women working in block, taluka or tehsil in the district.
• 2 members- one to be women, NGO (Cause of women)
• 1 member- knowledge of law
Term of chairperson- 3 years.
6. Procedure & timeline
• Complaint to ICC or LCC within 3 months from the date of any sexual harassment.
• Assistance to be provided free of cost.
The Act doesn’t limit itself to women but is for men too and their sexual harassment-oriented complaints and the members for ICC & LCC can comprise of a male member too.
Hence, a safe workplace is a right of both male and female employee and every employee deserves to be felt safe and should be surrounded by positive, healthy and happy working environment which will suffice the title i.e. A SAFE WORKPLACE= A HAPPY WORKPLACE.
Ms. Tanvi Thapliyal
School of Law & Legal studies
Sage University Bhopal