Checklist for sexual harassment policy for the organization

June 15, 2021
Sexual Harassment Policy

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This article is written by Shreya Gosavi, pursuing a Diploma in Business Laws for In-House Counsels from LawSikho.


Sexual Harassment in the workplace on women has always been in existence but it was unfortunate that we did not have any specific legislation in this area until 2013. The need for specific legislation was addressed by the Supreme Court in the case of  Vishaka & Ors. vs. State of Rajasthan (AIR 1997 SC 3011). The case had recognized that:

And this led to the enforcement of the “Sexual Harassment Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013” also known as the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act. This was enacted by the Parliament. The Act came into existence in December 2013 under the Ministry of Women and Children’s Department. In this article, we will understand the objectives and important provisions of the Act, the functioning of the Internal Complaints Committee and how are sexual harassment policies drafted and complied with in an organization.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 

The objective of the act is as follows:


Sexual harassment in the workplace

Workplace includes: 

Complainant includes: 


Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)

Every organization is bound to set an independent body that is solely responsible to look after the matters relating to sexual harassment in the workplace which is called as Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) who performs its duty as per the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at workplace Act, 2013. 

The Internal Complaint Committee consists of:






Women working at senior level as employee; if not available then nominated from other office/units/ department/ workplace of the same employer.


2 Members (minimum)

From amongst employees committed to the cause of women/ having legal knowledge/experience in social work.



From amongst NGO/associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issue of Sexual Harassment.

The functions of ICC members are as follows:

Checklist for drafting policy 

To create awareness and prevent employees from being sexually harassed a Sexual Harassment Policy needs to be drafted by the ICC members and update at regular intervals. Following are the checklists to be remembered while drafting the policy.  






Provision of Information Technology Act (IT Act)

Due to the work from home scenario, there was a need to insert IT Act provision in the policy. So along with the Posh Act, IT Act will also be applicable. 

Annual Compliance Report

The Annual Compliance Report is the report created by the ICC/Employer of the company. 

Offline mode of submission

It should be submitted to the District Officer along with the cover letter and also an Annual Report of the company to the district officer via post as per act (offline).

Contents of the Report

Contents to be mentioned in the Annual Report:

The Report of the ICC will be forwarded to the District Officer through the employee.

Online mode of submission

Online submission is available for Telangana, Nodia, Greater Nodia only. 

Non-Compliance of Report

The Non-Compliances of the ICC of the company can be liable of Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only) on or before end of every year. Due to the penalty added which led to receiving a report daily to the authority and hence increased the burden of the department said by Additional Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh.

Complainant Authority

Internal Committee is exclusively set up to hear sexual harassment cases in the organization. The order passed by the committee is absolute and cannot be appealed.  

Even after reporting to ICC the complaint if not addressed then the complainant can file a case. The jurisdiction of such cases are covered under Industrial court

If the complainant gets the complaint rejected by the company, the complainant can write to SHE Box. It is an online complainant management system initiative by the Government of India (Ministry of Women and Child Development) is a single-window for all the women who have been victim to sexual harassment in the workplace can register their complainant through this website.

Challenges under the Act 

The members of ICC are employees of the organization, the lack of safeguards hinders the working of ICC to act without fear and bias. Although the ICC has the powers of a civil court, the members of such committees have not been provided with any safeguards. This creates a highly unjust situation for ICC members as well as the parties to the case. This acts as a barrier to address the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace.

As per the Indian laws the evidence needs to be provided to prove the facts of the case either written, oral, or any witness who could approve the facts of the case. But in the case of sexual harassment, the evidence may lack as the incident occurs in private and no such witness is present at that moment. 


The act ensures giving protection to women in the workplace and providing equal status to both men and women for which an Internal Complaint Committee is set up to fulfill the objectives of the act. Apart from this, there are different mediums to get a complainant by filing a complaint to the court or getting the complainant registered on the SHE Box website. The company prepares a policy that is the source of making the employer/employee aware of the POSH Act. 

In my opinion, due to increasing mental issues, martial issues, or several other kinds of behavior might reduce the chances of women to take their cases in front of appropriate authorities. Apart from that, psychologists should be made a part of the panel of ICC in order to keep a tap on the mental health of the employers/ employee. The instances of sexual harassment will only come to an end with the proper compliance of the policies and efficiency in the working of the grievance redressal systems.

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