The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was enacted to protect the rights of women at their place of employment. This Act replaced theVishakha Guidelines for prevention of sexual harassment. The basic tenants of this Act are to protect the fundamental rights of women and no woman should be subject to sexual harassment in any form in the workplace.
Who Needs A Sexual Harassment Policy?
The following is a list of companies or organizations that require a sexual harassment policy:
Any company employing 10 or more people will be required to have a sexual harassment policy.
Any branch or office of a company that employs 10 or more employees will be required to have a sexual harassment policy in place.
Schools, Government offices, colleges and institutions that employ 10 or more people need such a policy as well.
Requirement For A Sexual Harassment Policy
All companies, schools, colleges, employers, patients, local authorities, etc. will be required to set up grievance committees to investigate and redress complaints. Employers that fail to comply with this requirement will be fined INR 50,000.
Each Office or branch that employs 10 or more people will be required to set up an internal complaints committee. The DO is required to set up a Local Complaints Committee at the district level.
The Act mandates employers to conduct sensitization and education programs and develop effective sexual harassment policies.
Features Of A Sexual Harassment Policy
Sexual Harassment is defined by the Act and a redressal system is in place for complaints. The Act also specifies how to deal with malicious or false charges, complaints or evidence.
Hostile work environments and quid-pro-quo harassment are also forms of sexual harassment covered under the Act.
This Act extends to all women employees employed (during the course of employment) in the organized or unorganized sector, public or private sector, educational institutions, hospitals and nursing homes, stadiums and sports complexes, etc. and also, transportation undertaken for employment.
A Grievance Committee should finish any inquiry within 90 days from the date of complaint and send a report to the District Officer. The DO has another 60 days to mandatorily take action.
The inquiry process must be kept confidential and any breach of confidentiality will be punishable with a fine of INR 5000.
Non-compliance will attract a fine of INR 50,000 and repeat offenses will result in higher fines and penalties or cancellation of business license.
An officer can be ordered by the Government to inspect a workplace or records (in relation to sexual harassment).
How To Get A Sexual Harassment Policy?
According to a November 2015 FICCI-EY report, 36% of Indian companies and 25% MNCs are not compliant with the Sexual Harassment Act, 2013. Action will be taken by the government against employers who fail to comply with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Here at LegalDesk.com, we can draft an entire sexual harassment policy for companies, start-ups, entities, etc. based on the nature of business and number of employees.