Apparently NOT! Needless to say the legal and business implications are HUGE!
A recent study by FICCI – EY has revealed that over 31% of companies in India who were polled were not compliant to the regulatory norms of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Even those companies that had a policy in place to comply with the law did not necessarily do everything required. A staggering 40% of the responding companies had not trained their Internal Complaints Committee on reconciliation and counselling techniques!
What are the employer’s accountabilities as per law?
The employer is responsible and accountable for ensuring a safe working environment, period!
What does this entail?
- Instituting a robust company policy to ensure the prevention of sexual harassment
- Constituting an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) with a representation from an external consultant / NGO with a robust grievance redressal mechanism. This applies to any organization with more than 10 employees. Organizations present at different locations need to have ICCs at each of those locations.
- Conducting awareness sessions at periodic intervals to employees and ICC members
- Displaying prominently at conspicuous places across the work location, the penalties if one were to transgress the law
- Following the complaints and reporting procedures if and when there is a grievance
Interestingly the finding also reveals that the senior management at many organizations are unwilling to accept the possibility of occurrence of such instances within their organizations.
With increasing awareness as also complaints (National Commission for Women reported that the number of complaints in 2014 almost doubled as compared to 2013), the business ramifications are huge. First, failure to comply with the law would result in a fine or even a conviction. Repeat convictions can lead to the cancellation of a company’s license. Of course, needless to say, there is also a huge bearing on the brand of an organization as also the workforce confidence. Can we afford to be laid-back about it in this dynamic and competitive landscape? Are we being fair to our fellow workers?
The way forward
We urge you to think for a moment and ask yourself if you are doing enough. Do you have a robust policy in place? If you do, do you have one just for the sake of compliance or have you pledged to ensure that work environment in your organization is safe?
Watch our video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKCelzoMMnI