Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act,2013 (POSH)

What is sexual harassment?

Misconduct of any kind which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, which unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance and or which adversely affects an individual’s employment is termed as harassment.

Sexual harassment is defined as an unwelcomed sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication) such as:

  • Physical conduct and advances
  • A demand or request for sexual favours or making sexually coloured remarks or
  • Showing pornography or
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. The harassment in relation to or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment as -follows amount to serious misbehaviour and the same is required to be viewed seriously.
  • Implied or implicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment or
  • Implied or implicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment
  • Humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety. 
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What is the objective of this Act?

The object of the POSH act is to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and also for the prevention and reducing of complaints of sexual harassment and other connected and incidental issues.

Where this Act is applicable?

The act is applicable across India to all establishments, government and private. Even domestic women workers are also given protection under the purview of the act.

What is an ‘internal committee’ at workplace?

Every employer having 10 or more than employees at its place is obliged to constitute a committee known as ‘internal committee’ at different administrative units or offices, divisions or subdivisions of his establishments.

  • Presiding officers who shall be woman employed at a senior level at workplace
  • Two members who are committed to the cause of women or have any legal knowledge or have work experience in social issues.
  • One member from the non-governmental organisation or association committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with issues relating to sexual harassment.

Committee should consists of atleast four members including presiding officer and it shall hold office maximum for a period of three years from the date of their appointment. It is necessary that all times minimum 50% of the members of this committee must be women.

This Act further provides for parallel grievance redress committee namely ‘local compliant committee’. Employer having less than 10 employees may tie up with ‘local compliant committee’.

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