Importance of POSH Training
The Article 'Importance of POSH Training' highlights the concept of POSH training, its importance for the employees, and the need for this training in the present scenario.
The Article 'Importance of POSH Training' by Shivani Sangwan highlights the concept of POSH training, its importance for the employees, along with the need for this training in the present scenario. Numerous businesses, both big and small, have taken notice of the prevention of sexual harassment training (POSH) due to the recent increase in sexual harassment claims. Employers or organizations should not dismiss sexual harassment cases at work as unimportant. It is illegal to do so. To promote equality among employees and stronger ties between them, the company should arrange POSH training. The author feels that it can ensure for both men and women work in a pleasant environment. By holding POSH training, the institutions may promote equity and better working connections, giving all of their employees a superior work environment.
What is POSH training?
Legislation known as the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act of 2013 was passed by the government of India. The POSH Act works to stop and shield women from sexual harassment at work. It also provides the ability to seek compensation for violations. Organizations adopt the POSH training session as a tool to inform staff members about sexual harassment of women at work and raise awareness of everything that it entails. The POSH awareness training also clarifies the proper course of action to take in the event of an incident involving oneself or a group of coworkers. On-time training helps preserve a positive workplace culture while also avoiding legal issues. The Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act (POSH) aims to give women more power to combat sexual harassment at work.
The Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act has assisted numerous women in the past in obtaining justice for situations of sexual harassment they have experienced at work. However, some women are now using it as a tool of intimidation to demand money from the management of their organization through false POSH reports. Employees can occasionally lack awareness, which can result in undesirable situations of sexual misbehaviour. Additionally, a lot of organizations lack the knowledge necessary to create an internal complaints committee or a robust POSH complaint redressal procedure. Another problem that organizations frequently encounter is the hiring of an outsider to the internal complaints committee. All of these issues can be resolved by having staff receive POSH training and having the organization managed by a reputable law firm.
The necessity of POSH training in the present time
Strong and consistent training must be offered by knowledgeable and professional HR Services in order to combat the escalating workplace harassment complaints and charges. Such training accomplishes a number of goals, including educating the workforce, reducing the risk of legal liability, and maintaining workplace legal compliance. The reasons for mandatory POSH training are discussed below:
- Employees are safeguarded: A zero-tolerance policy and sufficient training make your staff feel empowered and at ease at work.
- Training improves morale: As taboo as it may seem, training boosts morale since the problem of sexual harassment needs to be addressed openly. Employee commitment and confidence are increased when sexual harassment prevention training is provided by effective HR Services.
- Companies are shielded from legal responsibility: Sexual harassment in the workplace is significantly decreased by routine training. As a result, the business organization has less legal liability.
- Employee productivity increases: Employee output rises due to efficient training and expert HR Training & Consultancy that promotes employee satisfaction. This results in a more devoted workforce, which calls for the highest production levels.
- The desired behaviour is demonstrated: Training instils culture and discipline. Standardized training delivered by knowledgeable HR Services will guarantee HR Compliance, establish acceptable behaviour, and foster it among employees.
- A safe work environment is created: The workplace is made safer because sexual harassment, which elevates stress at work, contributes to a dangerous workplace. Training may minimize the uneasy and frightened sentiments this causes, guaranteeing a safe working atmosphere that ensures quality, efficiency, and profits.
- Workplace culture is improved: Training improves workplace culture by motivating employees and ensuring that all of the organization's members know its policies, objectives, and core values.
- Empower bystanders: Effective training will encourage reporting and empower bystanders, bringing to light discrimination and harassment that would otherwise go undetected. The individuals and spectators are also instructed about proper workplace conduct.
- Reduced compliance risk: If your staff is uninformed of sexual harassment issues, your company may be exposed to costly legal, financial, and professional repercussions. You can avoid the effects of these elements by training.
Legislations related to POSH Training
An Act for the Protection, Prevention, and Redress of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace was proclaimed by India in 2013. The POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace) Law comprises this Act and its several regulations. The following were the issues discussed under the Act.
● Penalty for non-compliance
Employers who disregard the POSH law's regulations are subject to severe fines. The financial penalty is the first and most serious repercussion; for the first offence, an employer who violates the law and the norms may be fined up to Rs. 50,000. Repeated violations can result in double the fine and licence cancellation, withdrawal, or non-renewal for any organization or corporation. The business or organization may also be subject to reputational harm, which could be difficult to handle, in addition to financial fines.
● Mandatory POSH training
Since the Act was implemented, POSH training has been made mandatory in India. Mandatory POSH training for all employees and employers is required by the Act for any firm or organization with more than ten employees. Every employee and employer must be aware of what constitutes workplace sexual harassment, how to report it, the process for resolving the issue, and the repercussions and penalties for non-compliance.
● Establishing a distinct committee to address complaints
Organizations with more than ten employees must establish an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). Even if there are no female employees at the company, the ICC must be established. This committee handles the complaint's receipt and resolution. The ICC must consist of four people, half of whom must be women. A presiding officer, two organization members representing the employees, and one external member make up the ICC.
● Spreading knowledge of the POSH law
It is crucial that the business or management hold seminars and training sessions on workplace sexual harassment for all employees. This makes it easier for workers to approach the ICC with sexual harassment complaints and receive justice. More importantly, the training sessions help the staff members comprehend what sexual harassment entails, which will help them understand that no sexual harassment is acceptable. Informing everyone about the legal repercussions of engaging in workplace sexual harassment is another aspect of raising awareness.
● POSH Policy drafting
Every business must create a thorough policy outlining the methods and practices for implementing the POSH rules. In order to write the policy, organisations can seek legal assistance. A typical POSH policy ought to include:
- The purpose and goal.
- Whom and places may apply the policy?
- Information on what constitutes workplace sexual harassment.
- Employers and employees both have responsibilities.
- Information on the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC).
- The steps for filing, handling, and resolving complaints.
- 7. Penalties and legal repercussions.
● Modifications to Employment Contracts
It is crucial to note the point in the policy where the employment contract changes in cases of sexual harassment. The organisation must explicitly state and adhere to the consequences of sexually harassing a woman at work. As a result of the misconduct, this clause may add points like suspension, termination, and financial penalties.
Report on POSH Compliance on an annual basis
● An annual report of the cases
The administration and redress of complaints and the results of each case are to be provided by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). The number of cases that are resolved annually, the number of cases that are still outstanding, and the number of POSH programs that the company offers its employees should also be included.
The landmark judgment of Vishaka & Ors v. State of Rajasthan & Ors led to the establishment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act.
Bhanwari Devi, a Dalit woman, working in the government of India's rural development program, was gang-raped by five men as a result of her attempts to end the pervasive practice of child marriage in Rajasthan. Due to the lack of medical evidence and because the five men belonged to an elite caste of society who would not touch or mingle with someone from a lower caste, Bhanwari was unable to receive justice from the police or the trial court, where the case was not taken seriously. In the end, she received assistance from women's rights advocates and attorneys who filed a public interest lawsuit on her behalf in the Supreme Court of India under the name of Vishakha.
In this landmark judgment, the Supreme Court declared workplace sexual harassment to be a blatant violation of the fundamental rights protected by Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution. In order to reduce sexual harassment claims at work in India, the Union of India was ordered by the Supreme Court to pass a proper law. The rules were established to stop incidences of sexual harassment against women at work. Employers were urged to take action to prevent sexual harassment incidents. The steps that were taken during that time were:
- Expressing a clear prohibition against sexual harassment through appropriate notification, publication, and dissemination of such information in the workplace.
- To ensure that there is no such hostile environment against women, appropriate working conditions should be provided in workplaces with regard to respect for work, leisure, health, and hygiene.
- Sexual harassment concerns should be openly discussed in meetings when both the employer and the employees are present, as well as at worker's gatherings and other suitable forums.
- Ensuring that female employees work in a setting that is free from danger from other people they may encounter.
- The employer and the person in charge must take all reasonable steps that are justifiable to assist the victim person in terms of assistance and preventive action when sexual harassment happens as a result of such an act or omission by any third party.
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013 was influenced by these recommendations (POSH Act).
Recommendations for effective training
Each organization is unique. Their cultures, work ethics, staff count, and male-to-female ratio are all different. Any firm receiving POSH training should keep a few things in mind. Some considerations that must be addressed include:
- Recognising the workplace culture.
- Recognising diversity and reviewing the strategic plan.
- Gaining knowledge of the workforce's demographics.
- Recognising the difficulties a corporation is having with its workforce's behaviour.
- Clarity is sought on the business, process, client types, vendors, and suppliers.
- Thorough understanding of the company's policy against sexual harassment.
- Information about the members of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC).
- Understanding how the Internal Complaints Committee is organised (ICC)
- Understanding of any standard email addresses that businesses use for POSH-related concerns.
- Recognising the management's final message that they wish to deliver.
Preparation of POSH training module
To provide the workers or employees with POSH training, the following steps could be considered:
● Make training modules that are primarily on mobile
If a mobile-friendly POSH module is developed, all employees will have easy access to it, more employees may be trained at once, and it also gives employees more time flexibility because they can access the material at any time and study it as many times as they like.
● Describe the various forms of harassment.
Make sure everyone knows what sexual harassment means. Sometimes the victims aren't sure if they should report the incident since they're not sure if what they experienced qualifies as sexual harassment or not. It could be a remark made out loud, a derogatory joke, a trade-off, etc.
You must describe the many sorts of sexual harassment to prevent misunderstandings, keep everyone on the same page, and ensure that everyone is aware of their behaviour to foster a secure and healthy workplace.
● Animated or scenario-based content
People have good visual memories. Using images instead of writing to convey something makes it simpler to understand. Scenario-based learning modules will be the most useful for thoroughly understanding the events. To help the staff understand what constitutes sexually inappropriate behaviour, scenarios with several choices could be presented to them. Animation makes it simple to comprehend appropriate and inappropriate workplace behaviour. Keeping the audience interested can have a greater effect and aid in information retention.
● Interactivity in tests
It is strongly advised to develop interactive tests to assess your employees' comprehension after they have completed POSH training. Between chapters, there may be MCQs or other questions of the Yes-or-No variety. This will ensure that the learners fully comprehend the idea that was covered in the course module and are well aware of the consequences of acting inappropriately around their colleagues.
● Detailed analytics
It is crucial that your distribution platform have an analytics capability. An analytical report can be used to determine each employee's comprehension and growth. It will give a detailed breakdown of how many workers completed the course, showed up for the exam (took the quiz), and did well on it. The organization must take the appropriate steps to ensure that each employee has received POSH training and is fully informed of the many forms and repercussions of workplace sexual harassment.
Many workers today, especially women, lack a sense of security. Employees feel safer if the POSH policy is in place, POSH training is provided, and sexual harassment issues are discussed. Men employees can occasionally be afraid of someone making a nasty complaint, and training helps them understand the repercussions of making a false complaint. Staff members become alert due to POSH training. Women's safety at work is ensured by training. Employees are well-informed on the types of conduct that constitute sexual harassment. When all employees receive sexual harassment training at the same time, they are all equally aware of it and have the ability to report it.
Participants in the POSH program are also taught about all facets of sexual harassment, what can give rise to false allegations, how to successfully enforce the law, and how to stop the abuse. Therefore, where our country is progressing with both male and female workers, their safety should also be ensured in the workplace, which could easily be done by POSH training.
1. Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act of 2013, Available Here
2. Shweta Gupta, Importance of POSH training, Available Here
3. Importance and Benefits of Prevention of Sexual Harassment Training (POSH) for your employees, Available Here
4. Shriya Rajendra Khalate, Is POSH Training Mandatory in India, Available Here
5. Dr. Aparna Sethi, Top 5 Benefits of Conducting POSH Training, Available Here
6. Vishaka & Ors v. State Of Rajasthan & Ors, (1997) 6 SCC 241