PoSH Snippet of the Act of 2013 V11

ACT SNIPPET

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Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH)

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DISCLAIMER This online course content on ‘Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) at Workplace’ is designed and laid out exclusively for academic purposes only. The information and documents included herein have been sourced from various sources and Atyaasaa Consulting Foundation does not confirm the authenticity of the same. The views and opinions expressed herein have pure academic value and the same may not be used for any legal purpose in any judicial or quasi-judicial process. Atyaasaa Consulting Foundation is not a replacement of a formal legal firm.

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES

1. In this module, we will learn about the genesis of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 enacted by the Indian Parliament. 2. We will also learn how it is now mandatory for the employers to create and provide and environment and framework for women’s safety and security. 3. The module also brings insights to the learner about the duties and responsibilities of the employer, the legal framework, the process which will unfold in the event of any unfortunate incident and penal provisions mandated by the law. 1. To provide protection to women against sexual harassment at workplace. 2. To sensitize the entire workforce about what all constitutes sexual harassment and the way to deal with it. 3. To create and sustain a legal framework for preventing, prohibiting and redressal process of complaints of sexual harassment of women at workplace. 4. While providing for a gender sensitive environment in any organization, the Act makes the employer responsible and accountable for the same. OBJECTIVES OF THE ACT

APPLICABILITY

The act is applicable to all the establishments established under the Factories Act 1948 and the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Act 1946 where ten (10) or more employees are employed.

DEFINITION

Section 2 (a) “Aggrieved woman” means a woman, of any age who has been a victim of sexual harassment at her workplace. Section 2 (f) “Employee” means a person employed at a workplace for any nature of work, who also includes a woman whose domestic worker/servant. Section 2 (n) “SEXUAL HARASSMENT” means any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication), towards the working woman, namely: i. physical contact and advances; or

ii. demand or request for sexual favours; or iii. making sexually coloured remarks; or iv. showing pornography; or v. any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. Section 2 (o) “WORKPLACE” means i. any organization setup by the Government or the local authority; ii. any organization setup in the private or non-government sector;

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iii. hospitals or nursing homes; iv. sport relating organizations; v. any other place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment including transportation for such journey; vi. a dwelling place or a house.  The Employer is duty bound to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) chaired by a Presiding Officer who has to be a senior woman officer of the organization and two (02) to four (04) other members depending upon the size of the organization.  One (01) member of the ICC necessarily needs to be from a non-governmental or social organization. This member must be well aware of the provisions of the Act and aligned to women's cause.  More than 50% members of the ICC need to be women only.  All the members of the ICC have tenure of three (03) years.  A member of the ICC may be removed for misconduct even before his/her tenure is completed.  The members of the ICC may be remunerated by the organization. Section 4 - CONSTITUTION OF INTERNAL COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE The Act provides for the constitution of a Local Complaints Committee (LCC) in every district. District Labour Officer is responsible for constituting a Local Complaints Committee. Section 7 - COMPOSITION, TENURE, AND OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE COMMITTEE A chairperson and one member to be nominated from amongst the women working in block, taluka or tehsil or ward or municipality in the district with reference to the organization  Two members to be nominated from non-governmental organizations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment.  The officer dealing with the social welfare or women and child development in the district shall be a member ex officio.  The chairperson and the members shall hold the office not exceeding three years, from the date of their appointment.  The central government may grant money for being utilized for the payment of fees or allowances to the chairperson and members of LCC.  The Government may set up an agency for the purpose of grants handling and these agencies shall pay to the district officers.  The accounts of the agency should be audited as prescribed in the act and the person holding the custody of the accounts of the agency shall furnish during such dates. Section 8 - GRANTS AND AUDITS Section 6 - CONSTITUTION AND JURISDICTION OF LOCAL COMPLAINT COMMITTEE

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Section 9 - COMPLAINT OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

 Any aggrieved women may make a complaint in writing within the period of three (03) months from the date of the last incident.  Where the aggrieved woman is unable to make a complaint on account of her physical or mental incapacity or death or otherwise, her legal heir may make a complaint on her behalf.

Section 10 - CONCILIATION

 Committee tries to resolve the issue between parties through conciliation.  No monetary settlement or consideration is made the basis of any such conciliation.  After conciliation, the closure report may be forward to the deputy officer/employer.  Provide the copies of conciliation to both the parties.  The conciliation is done, and then no further inquiry is to be conducted.

Section 11 - INQUIRY INTO COMPLAINT

 The committee shall forward the complaint to the police, within a period of seven days for registering the case under section 509 of the Indian Penal Code.  If informed about the term or condition of the settlement parties shall be given an opportunity of being heard and a copy of the findings should be given.  The committee shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court.

Section 12 - ACTION DURING PENDENCY OF INQUIRY

 Transfer the aggrieved woman or the respondent to any other workplace; or  Grant fully paid leave to the aggrieved woman for up to a period of three months; or  Grant such other relief to the aggrieved woman as may be prescribed.

Section 13 - INQUIRY REPORT

 The findings are to be reported to the employer within a period of ten (10) days from the completion of inquiry.  If found guilty (i) to take actions for sexual harassment. (ii) To deduct salary/wages.  The employer or the District Officer shall act upon the recommendations recommended by the Internal Committee or Local Committee towards the case conclusion, within sixty (60) days of its receipt by him.

Section 19 - DUTIES OF EMPLOYER

 A safe working environment.  Organize workshops and awareness programmes.  Providing necessary facilities for dealing with the complaint and conducting an inquiry.  Assist in resolving the reported cases.  Make available information as when asked by the ICC.

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 Monitor and ensure the timely submission of reports.

MISCELLANEOUS Fine exceeds upto fifty (50) thousand rupees if the employer fails to constitute the internal committee or if  false evidence or complaints are been registered and no inquiry reports are made according to the rules. No court or committee shall take cognizance i.e. only ICC have the power to give judgments and have the  power in this act and no court or other committee shall go against the same. Every offence under this Act shall be non-cognizable means no actions or arrests are to be made without  the permission of a concerned authority.

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