---Remedy for Trivialising Sexual Harassment Complaints?---

What is the “Remedy” when Sexual Harassment Complaints filed by Aggrieved Woman Complainants are Trivialized, she is asked to Keep Quiet, her Harassments continue unstopped and No Redressal in sight?

If Women-Complainants including Employees at the Workplaces dare to pursue Redressal, she faces flak; is mocked, maligned, suffers a deep sense of deathless shame, ridiculed. All these when she named SH Behavior, named the Harasser-Perpetrator Fearing Reprisals.

Nagging Question is What Can she do; What Can Employers and Management Do; What Can Colleagues & Employees Do and What Can Internal Committees Do???

Well Considered & Thoughtful Solutions offered shall go a Long Way in Resolving Issues

From India, Delhi
Dear Mr Harsh Kumar Sharan,

If the aggrieved woman feels that her sexual harassment complaint is trivialised, then she can write a letter to the MD to her company for his/her intervention by RPAD. She must maintain the proper records of this letter If the MD also does not intervene, then he/she becomes a party to the alleged crime and she can file a complaint against MD in the police station. She can even approach the National Commission for Women (NCW). NCW, on her behalf, can write a letter to the MD. Their letter cannot be taken lightly. NCW even can approach the police to file FIR against the MD.

If the charges of sexual harassment are severe and if the company is taking these lightly then she can approach the government-approved NGOs that take the causes of the women.

Whatever I have written above looks nice on the paper. However, a lot of women keep quiet because of reasons. One is the social stigma and another is an ordeal that they might have to go through to fight for the cause. Raising the issue of sexual harassment could risk the employment of that the woman employee also. The #MeToo movement manifests to what I say.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear Harsh Kumar Sharan,
Absolute advice, perfect advice by Dinesh Divekar.
However, what I suppose, you are an external member in the IC or you are an advising agency to the company. Being an external member or an advising agency, you are bound to see the written complaint(s) received by the IC is / are disposed off carefully with due process. Even inappropriate behaviour / verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature is considered as sexual harassment that I need not to say and everything is trivialising & everything is non-trivialising when it comes to women dignity.

From India, Mumbai
Hello Gents,

The most important thing that gets missed every time a complainant reaches the IC is CONFIDENTIALITY. Once confidentiality is compromised, 80% of the battle is already lost there and then. Secondly, the constitution of IC needs to be done very accurately and members need to be chosen in a manner that the employees can show trust in IC. Asking the complainant to keep quiet about the case filed is a good thing but pressurizing to keep quiet is bad. As a consolation till the time case is being investigated the complainant can be asked to work from home away from office. If IC has not taken relevant actions within defined time frame as per POSH act, complainant can follow the below course of action:-

- Contact with the copy of complaint to company's Legal counsel seeking redressal, if you do not hear from them, you can follow next step.

- Contact local committee, which is formed at district level.

- You can file FIR against failure of IC & LC if they do not respond to you.

Please feel free to reach out to me for any POSH related matters, POSH Training requests, IC Formation, POSH Policy formulations etc.


Megha Mehrotra

POSH Enabler/ Senior POSH Trainer (PAN-India presence)/ POSH External Member for multiple Companies, Schools...

From India, Noida
This is CORPORATE JUNGLE RAJ, by all means. I am a woman and an experienced HR professional and works closely with the Legal and POSH Enforcement Teams - have terminated a dozen employees in my 15 year-long career.
Practical Advice: Please seek an out-of-court settlement of case by informal arbitration/ intervention through Informal Police/ Social Counsellors. Force HR policy to send aggrieved and alleged person(s) on indefinite leaves until matter is resolved. Societal reputation is very important to a Woman employee as well the Corporates - This works - I have handled 16 such cases amicably. There were never further complaints.
If an informal channel doesn't work - please proceed towards Legal and Justice Forums, as prescribed by our HR brethren above.
Sensitive matters require sensitive decisions !

From India, Delhi
I am completely agree with your advice , women confidentiality really matter in these cases . First we need to handle such type of cases in an informal manner .
From India, Mohali
I think this is a very practical challenge that may occur in any organization. I second Dinesh's approach and would like to add that documentation and recording of all instances including escalation to the MD should be kept intact and highly confidential.
These complaints can just be washed off easily by corporates using money and power. Nothing can beat evidence and truth if all communication is tracked and kept safe to be produced when challenged.
As a suggestion, I want to add- A proactive step will be-while the sexual harassment committee is set up within the organization, the members in the interest of such precedences, should include points in the committee as to how trivializing of sexual harassment complaints should be strictly dealt with.
HR should also take responsibility of sensitizing the team every now and then facilitating them to raise questions and provide responsible answers to these, in the interest of protecting the organizational climate.

From India, Pune
Dear Friends,

I revisited this discussion today and came to below given understanding.

The fact is that complainant women is aggrieved by the inaction by the Internal Committee.

I would like to reproduce the Section 18 which deals with appeal as under verbatim:

18. Appeal

1. Any person aggrieved from the recommendations made under sub-section (2) of section 13 or under clause (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section (3) of section 13 or subsection (l) or sub-section (2) of section 14 or section 17 or non-implementation of such recommendations may prefer an appeal to the court or tribunal in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to the said person or where no such service rules exist then, without prejudice to provisions contained in any other law for the time being in force, the person aggrieved may prefer an appeal in such manner as may be prescribed.

2. The appeal under sub-section (1) shall be preferred within a period of ninety days of the recommendations.

This means that either the accuser or accused are aggrieved by the action (or inaction) of the IC / LC, he or she can launch an appeal to the state-level industrial tribunal, which has a district officer dealing with such appeals who has the power to punish non-compliance with the Act.

Further, the District Officer is empowered to take such measures as may be necessary for the rights of the women as per Section 20 of the Act.

Under this circumstances, the complainant women is advised to prepare for appeal before the District Officer and not to approach the National Commission for Women (NCW) or any NGO.

This appeal shall be prepared with in 190 days (90 days for completion of enquiry+10 for submitting recommendation +90 days for preparing appeal).

Hope the learned members will agree with the above.

From India, Mumbai
With work from home being extended by many companies till the end of 2020, the Companies must also consider taking actions to make their women employees safe. In doing so, companies could consider the following amongst other suggestions:
1. POSH Policy of the Company should clearly state that work from home would be classified as “workplace”, as well as that the definition of “sexual harassment” would include any verbal/non-verbal conduct by electronic means, to avoid any ambiguity as to the applicability of POSH.
2. Create online reporting mechanism, e.g. a virtual mailbox or a dedicated email address, to receive and forward complaints to ICC.
3. Hold awareness programs and ICC hearings virtually.
For the legal analysis / applicability of POSH Act in work from home environment, and more practical suggestions to the Corporates, please read my detailed article here.

From India, Delhi
Please sameone give me the information of contract workman how to make labour society, Guide Me.
From India, Mumbai

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