Workplace Harassment law in India

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Workplace Harassment law in India

India enacted the law on prevention of sexual harassment law against female employees at the workplace after the nation and the Supreme Court of India woke up to the brutal gang rape of a social worker in Rajasthan in 1997 highlighting the attention absence of domestic law to check the evil of sexual harassment of working women at all work places. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on 3rd September 2012 and Rajya Sabha 26th February 2013 and finally the President’s assent on 23rd April 2013. The Act came into force from 9th December 2013. The statute superseded the Vishakha Guidelines for prevention of sexual harassment introduced by the Supreme Court of India in Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997).

The Act in intends to protect women against direct or indirect sexual harassment at all the places of work, study and service, be it in public or private and stresses upon their right to equality of gender, economic status and working conditions, life, liberty and inclusive growth.

Major Features:

  •  The law is only applicable to women and women only and the “Aggrieved woman”, concept is not basis age, employment status or society standing specific.
  • The Act defines sexual harassment at the work place in act or behaviour, unwelcome sexually determined behavior as physical contact and advances, sexually colored remarks, showing pornography and sexual demands, whether by words or actions. It covers all forms of harassment and creation of hostile work environment.
  • It creates a mechanism for redressal of complaints by grievance committees within 90 days. Post inquiry the report may be send to the District Officer, as the case may be and they are mandated to take action on the report within 60 days. The law also safeguards against false or malicious charges.
  • It includes organizations, departments, offices, branches, units, armed forces, women agricultural workers, domestic workers, daily wagers, temporary or permanent, full-time or part-time, as well as volunteers, etc both public and private sector, organized and unorganized, hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutions, sports institutes, sports stadiums, sports complex and any official place of business including tele-commuting.
  • Every employer is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee at each office or branch with 10 or more employees and the District Officer constitutes a Local Complaints Committee at each district or at block level. The Act requires employers to conduct education and sensitization programmes and develop policies against sexual harassment, among other obligations.
  • The Complaints Committees have the powers of civil courts for gathering evidence, and can provide conciliation before initiating an inquiry, if requested by the complainant.
  • The inquiry process under the Act should be confidential and the Act lays down a penalty of Rs 5000 on the person who has breached confidentiality. Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with a fine of up to ₹ 50,000. Repeated violations may lead to higher penalties and cancellation of license or registration to conduct business. Government can order an officer to inspect workplace and records related to sexual harassment in any organisation. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 : The Indian Penal Code that stipulates penalties range from one to three years imprisonment and/or a fine and employers are obligated to report offences since it falls under the preview of crime. Compliance to this statute is left to the employers and government is working on further processes to enforce the law across more stringently.

India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development has released a reference handbook on the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 for employers, members of the Internal Complaints Committees and individuals aggrieved by workplace sexual harassment.

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Ashish Singhania (Co-Founder & Director)

Ashish Singhania

Credited with 25 years of experience, this astute businessman passionately promotes what he believes in: workplace safety which in turn helps employees get more productive. A commerce graduate of Sydenham College, his background in finance has helped him scale heights in stocks and real estate and made him a well-known industrialist, today. But after having achieved astounding success in the financial market and real estate business, he did not want to rest on his laurels. He always had a strong desire to do something for society and he could forsee the importance of compliance and the safety of women at the workplace. Being a man with deep rooted values at heart he decided to partner the cause and help bring about a change.

 

 

Prem Rajani (Co-Founder)

Prem Rajani

Prem Rajani is the Managing Partner of Rajani Associates a full service national law firm, with experience spanning over two decades. Having passed his LL.B. examination from Government Law College, Mumbai in May 1990, he went on to then pass the Solicitors examination conducted by the Bombay Incorporated Law Society in March 1992 and later the Solicitors examination conducted by the Law Society, London, in April 1994.

 

Mr Rajani had the opportunity to handle numerous matters relating to Foreign Exchange Laws along with FDI Policy which was introduced in India in 1991 and also saw the advent and evolvement of FEMA and was likewise involved in numerous matters on FEMA with the gradual opening up of various sectors, he continued to gain knowledge in each of them and build on his expertise. Today, Prem Rajani is an expert on many laws and uses this expertise in structuring deals and finding solutions to complex situations. A client is never unsatisfied after meeting Prem Rajani

 

Although Prem Rajani created a niche for himself in corporate practice, he has also honed his skills in specialised fields such as conveyance and litigation. This diverse enrichment in various categories, has helped him evolve into a towering personality, in his field.

 

 

Sangeeta Lakhi (Co-Founder)

SANGEETA LAKHI

Sangeeta Lakhi is a Senior Partner with Rajani Associates and has been instrumental in the Firm’s development and growth. She passed her LL.B. examination in 1993 and carries with her vast and varied experience spanning 21 years. Sangeeta Lakhi heads the International Capital Markets as well as the Banking & Finance Practice of the firm. She also advises clients in General Company Law, Exchange Control and SEBI corporate matters.

 

 

Neha Kedia (VP & PoSH ICC Member)

SANGEETA LAKHI

Neha is an External Member of the Internal Complaints Committees of multinational companies, listed companies, associations and various other companies. Neha has a deep understanding of the PoSH law with more than 5 years of relevant experience to conduct a neutral, unbiased, fair and time bound redressal of sexual harassment complaints at the workplace.

 

Neha is very passionate about women’s rights and is a huge advocate for equality at the workplace. Neha is a Commerce graduate from Sydenham College, Mumbai and has completed her Post Graduation Certificate course in Human Rights from Government Law College & Hurt Foundation, Mumbai.

 

Neha as over the past 15 years gained significant experience in customer relationships and networking while heading the Personal Travel division at Ramniranjan Kedia Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd. Neha is a keen student of human nature and excels in client interaction and retention. Neha has been known to drive her teams to achieve targets and aptly service demanding client requirements and currently looks after network building and crystallizing marketing strategies for Complykaro, an idea she has been part of since it’s inception.

 

 

Manoj Sharma (Vice President-Client Servicing)

MANOJ SHARMA

Manoj has over 22 years of work experience in sales & operations. He commenced his career with Eureka Forbes Ltd in Direct Sales and has worked in senior capacity in various companies including Ion Exchange (India) Ltd where he was Regional Sales Manager – Direct & Institutional Sales in their Consumer Products Division. Manoj is a Graduate from University of Mumbai. His last assignment was with the leading NGO, Yuva Parivartan, a movement of Kherwadi Social Welfare Association wherein he was Head – Operations for Mumbai, Gujarat & North Indian States.

 

 

Rishab Bhuwalka (Relationship Manager)

Rishabh

Rishab is the single point of contact from Complykaro for various associations. Rishab works towards increasing the visibility and brand value of Complykaro by playing a vital role in planning and executing both online and offline marketing strategies and managing Complykaro’s social media platforms. Rishab manages the end-to-end development of online training modules on various subjects relating to compliance and ethical business practices to increase Complykaro’s bouquet of services. Rishab is also responsible for client on-boarding, client support and operations. Rishab is an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) Member of Complykaro’s ICC.

 

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    Mr. Vishal Kedia (Founder & Director)

    Vishal

    Areas of Expertise:

    • Eloquent orator about sexual harassment of women at workplace, its organizational ramifications,and preventive measures.
    • Acclaimed PoSH and Code of Conduct trainer.
    • Subject Matter Expert on corporate compliance.
    • Avid reader regarding compliance issues and court judgements to be abreast with the latest

    Education:

    • Bachelor of Commerce (B. Com), Sydenham College
    • Master of Business Administration (MBA), National University of Singapore
    • Diploma, Business Finance, ICFAI, Hyderabad

    Being a fierce entrepreneur, an acknowledged speaker about harassment of women at workplace and a reputable PoSH trainer, Mr. Vishal Kedia actively helps companies function smoothly by creating a compliant workplace for them.

     

    He has trained over 40,000 Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) members, numerous corporate leaders & their employees across industries and lawyers of prestigious law-firms through his classroom seminars for PoSH training.

    Adding to his roaring success, Mr. Vishal Kedia has won “101 Top Global Diversity & Inclusion Leaders Award” at 27th World HRD Congress, “Global Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award” at 25th World HRD Congress and “The Leading CEO of the Year Award” at the 6th Annual Greentech HR Awards.

     

    He has been a compelling speaker on the prevention and corporate consequences of sexual harassment of women at the workplace and the PoSH Act at various esteemed public events organised by NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies), ICSI (Institute of Company Secretaries of India), ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India), ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India), PHDCCI (PhD Chamber of Commerce and Industry) among others. Mr. Vishal Kedia is also a celebrated member of the prestigious HRD Network.

     

    By the virtue of his tremendous compliance expertise beyond just the PoSH Act, Mr. Vishal Kedia has conducted several training seminars for Whistleblower Committee Members of distinguished corporates for undertaking potent investigation pertaining to the violation of the code of conduct.

     

    Moreover, he has contributed to a number of notable publications:

     

    • Experts Pharma
    • Express Healthcare
    • BSE Broker’s Forum
    • Compliance & Ethics Professional, etc.

     

    Testimonials specifically for Mr. Kedia:

     

    “Vishal is very engaging facilitator, use of case study, live media example, court judgements were the key highlight of session. Thank You”

     

    Reliance Industries, Ltd.

    “It was a very good training. Vishal shared a lot of practical scenarios. Overall it was an informative session. Good job!”

     

    IDFC First Bank

    “What I was amazed with was not one question was left unanswered or even ambiguous by Vishal. Very clear informative seminar.”

     

    Nadiadwala Grandsons

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