The ultimate guide to preventing Sexual Harassment at Workplace - POSH Act



Long bygone are the days when “MAN” was the only responsible bread earner of the family. Now, we are in a digital era. Women go parallelly with men. However, similarly, Sexual Harassment at the workplace has carried a greater weightage and concern.


Sexual Harassment is gender discrimination that violates women’s fundamental right to equality and right to life guaranteed under Articles 14,15 and 21 of the Constitution. To enable a safe and inclusive workplace for women, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, and the rules therein (POSH Laws) were brought into force. The Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) at workplace Act is applicable applies to every workplace, establishment, company, or organization with more than 10 employees.


What is Sexual Harassment?

A man committing -

  • Unwelcoming physical contact;

  • Demand for sexual favors;

  • Showing pornography against the will of a woman;

  • Making sexual colored remarks

is said to have committed Sexual Harassment.


What is POSH Act?

To enable a safe and inclusive workplace for women, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, and the rules therein (POSH Laws) were brought into force. The Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) at workplace Act applies to every workplace, establishment, company, or organization with more than 10 employees.


What is Sexual Harassment under POSH Act?

According to Section 2(n) of the POSH Act, any of the following (either directly or by implication) shall include sexual harassment:

  1. physical contact and advances;

  2. a demand or request for sexual favors;

  3. making sexually colored remarks;

  4. showing pornography;

  5. any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

Section 3 of the POSH Act further widens the definition of sexual harassment by stating that any of the following also amount to sexual harassment:

  1. implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in the victim’s employment;

  2. implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in the victim’s employment;

  3. implied or explicit threat about the victim’s present or future employment status;

  4. interferes with the victim’s work or creates an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her and

  5. humiliating treatment likely to affect the victim’s health or safety.


The POSH Act defines the terms ‘sexual harassment, ‘workplace’, and ‘aggrieved woman’, understanding of which is important to ensure a harassment-free environment at a workplace. It also gives mandates such as the constitution of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) that are to be followed by organizations/employers. Rules regarding the Local Complaints Committee, making of a complaint, and the inquiry by ICC are also covered extensively. Other duties of the employer such as providing a safe working environment and display of penal consequences of sexual harassment are also stated in the Act.