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Prevention of Sexual Harassment Policy (POSH)

1. Introduction

  • Sexual Harassment is behavior. It is defined as an unwelcome behavior of sexual nature. Sexual harassment at workplace is a widespread problem in the world whether it be a developed nation or a developing nation or an underdeveloped nation, atrocities against women is common everywhere. It is a universal problem giving negative impact on both men and women. It is happening more with women gender in particular. How much ever one try to protect, prohibit, prevent and give remedies such violation will always take place. It is a crime against women, who are considered to be the most vulnerable section of the society. It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or an employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual Harassment is unwelcome sexual behavior, which could be expected to meet a person feel offended, humiliated or intimated. It can be physical, verbal and written.
  • Unwelcome Behavior is the critical word. Unwelcome does not mean “involuntary.” A victim may consent or agree to certain conduct and actively participate in it even though it is offensive and objectionable. Therefore, sexual conduct is unwelcome whenever the person subjected to it considers it unwelcome. Whether the person in fact welcomed a request for a date, sex-oriented comment, or joke depends on all the circumstances.

2. Definitions of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace

  • One of the difficulties is to understand this concept as it involves a range of behaviors, even the victims find it difficult to explain what they experienced. There have been efforts from both national and international level still there is no single definition which can define prohibited behavior. The international instruments define Sexual Harassment as “violence against women and discriminatory treatment which is a broad definition compared to the national laws. National laws focus on the illegal conduct more.
  • In general sense it is known as “unwelcome sexual favor and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive “work environment”.
  • The Supreme Court of India defined Sexual Harassment as any unwelcome sexually determined behavior (whether directly or by implication) such as;
    • Physical contact or advances,
    • A demand or request for sexual favors,
    • Sexually colored remarks,
    • Showing pornography,
    • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
    • Derogatory comments of sexual nature or based on gender
    • Presence of sexual visual material or pornographic material such as posters, cartoons, drawings, calendars, pinups, pictures, computer programs of sexual nature
    • Written material that is sexual in nature, such as notes or e-mail containing sexual comments
    • Comments about clothing, personal behavior, or a person’s body
    • Patting, stroking grabbing or pinching one’s body
    • Obscene phone calls
    • Telling lies or spreading rumours about a person’s personal or sex life; gossip
  • A key part of the definition is the use of the word unwelcome. Such unwelcome or uninvited conduct/act is totally prohibited. Sexual or romantic interaction between consenting people at work may be offensive to observers or may also lead to the violation of the workplace’s policy, but it is not sexual harassment

Policy on Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Associates in NIST Iinstitute Private Limited

  • Policy

    • NIST is an equal employment opportunity company and is committed to creating a healthy working environment that enables employees to work without fear of prejudice, gender bias and sexual harassment. The Company also believes that all associates of the Company have the right to be treated with dignity.
    • Sexual harassment at the work place or other than work place if involving associates is a grave offence and is, therefore, punishable.
    • The Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, has passed the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (Act) with the avowed object of providing protection/prevention against sexual harassment of women at the workplace. The Act further provides for the redressal of complaints of sexual harassment.
    • This policy is in compliance with the provisions of the Act. It is also in keeping with our commitment to the adoption of best practices and our principles of Values FIRST. This will also make us compliant to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Scope and Effective Date

  • This Policy extends to all associates of the Company and is deemed to be incorporated in the service conditions of all associates and comes into effect immediately.
  • Sexual harassment would mean and include any of the following (in addition to the meaning provided in section 2 (n) of the Act)
    • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demand for sexual favours, either explicitly or implicitly, in return for employment, promotion, examination or evaluation of a person towards any company activity;
    • Unwelcome sexual advances involving verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct such as sexually coloured remarks, jokes, letters, phone calls, e-mail, gestures, showing of pornography, lurid stares, physical contact or molestation, stalking, sounds, display of pictures, signs, verbal or non-verbal communication which offends the individuals’ sensibilities and affect her/his performance;
    • Eve teasing, innuendos and taunts, physical confinement against one’s will and likely to intrude upon one’s privacy;
    • Act or conduct by a person in authority which creates an environment at the workplace that is hostile or intimidating to a person belonging to the other sex;
    • Conduct of such an act at work place or outside in relation to an associate of NIST, or vice versa during the course of employment; and
    • Any unwelcome gesture by an associate having sexual overtones.
  • “Associate” means any person on the rolls of the Company including those on deputation, contract, temporary, part time or working as consultants.

Internal Complaints Committee

  • A Committee has been constituted by the Management to consider and redress complaints of Sexual Harassment. The Chairman and Managing Director may constitute such committees as may be required for the purposes of the Act at the various locations of the company.
  • A quorum of 5 members is required to be present for the proceedings to take place. The quorum shall include the presiding officer, at least three members, one external member, and expert in law and woman issues who shall be a lady.
  • You may reach the committee and report the matter to the committee members. And the committee shall ensure to maintain confidentiality.

Redressal Process

  • Any employee who feels and is being sexually harassed directly or indirectly may submit a complaint of the alleged incident to any member of the Committee in writing with his/her signature within 10 days of occurrence of incident.
  • The Committee will maintain a register to endorse the complaint received by it and keep the contents confidential, if it is so desired, except to use the same for discreet investigation.
  • The Committee will hold a meeting with the Complainant within five days of the receipt of the complaint, but no later than a week in any case.
  • At the first meeting, the Committee members shall hear the Complainant and record her/his allegations. The Complainant can also submit any corroborative material with a documentary proof, oral or written material, etc., to substantiate his / her complaint. If the Complainant does not wish to depose personally due to embarrassment of narration of event, a lady officer for lady employees involved and a male officer for male employees, involved shall meet and record the statement.
  • Thereafter, the person against whom complaint is made may be called for a deposition before the Committee and an opportunity will be given to him / her to give an explanation, where after, an “Enquiry” shall be conducted and concluded.
  • In the event, the complaint does not fall under the purview of Sexual Harassment or the complaint does not mean an offence of Sexual Harassment, the same would be dropped after recording the reasons thereof.
  • In case the complaint is found to be false, the Complainant shall, if deemed fit, be liable for appropriate disciplinary action by the Management.

Enquiry Process

  • The Committee shall immediately proceed with the Enquiry and communicate the same to the Complainant and person against whom complaint is made.
  • The Committee shall prepare and hand over the Statement of Allegation to the person against whom complaint is made and give him / her opportunity to submit a written explanation if she / he so desires within 7 days of receipt of the same.
  • The Complainant shall be provided with a copy of the written explanation submitted by the person against whom complaint is made.
  • If the Complainant or the person against whom complaint is made desires any witness/es to be called, they shall communicate in writing to the Committee the names of witness/es whom they propose to call.
  • If the Complainant desires to tender any documents by way of evidence before the Committee, she / he shall supply originals/copies of such documents. Similarly, if the person against whom complaint is made desires to tender any documents in evidence before the Committee he / she shall supply originals/copies of such documents. Both shall affix his / her signature on the respective documents to certify these them.
  • The Committee shall call upon all witnesses mentioned by both the parties.
  • The Committee shall provide every reasonable opportunity to the Complainant and to the person against whom complaint is made, for putting forward and defending their respective cases.
  • The Committee shall complete the “Enquiry” within reasonable period but not beyond three months and communicate its findings and its recommendations for action to the Chairman& MD. The report of the committee shall be treated as an enquiry report on the basis of which an erring employee can be awarded appropriate punishment straightaway.
  • The Chairman & MD will direct appropriate action in accordance with the recommendation proposed by the Committee.
  • The Committee shall be governed by such rules as may be framed by the Supreme Court orders or any other legislation enacted later on.

Other Points to be Considered

  • The Committee may recommend to the Director action which may include transfer or any of the other appropriate disciplinary actions.
  • The management shall provide all necessary assistance for the purpose of ensuring full, effective and speedy implementation of this policy.
  • Where sexual harassment occurs as a result of an act or omission by any third party or outsider, NIST shall take all steps necessary and reasonable to assist the affected person in terms of support and preventive action.
  • The Committee shall analyze and put up report on all complaints of this nature at the end of the year for submission to Chairman & MD.
  • In case, if the Committee, find the degree of offence coverable under the Indian Penal Code, then this fact shall be mentioned in its report and appropriate action shall be initiated by the Management, for making a Police Complaint.

Committee Members

  • Ms.Asha Priya
  • Ms.Jayanthi M
  • Ms.Manju
  • Ms.Nisha
  • Mr.Anoop Verma
  • Senthil Murugan