Vishakha and her friends are very chatty. They crack a lot of jokes at the lunch table. Yesterday they were talking about good looking men in the office. Revathy doesn’t like this kind of language but she keeps quiet. They are not saying explicitly to her, just joking.
Is this sexual harassment?
In the year 2013, the Indian legislature adopted the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act. This Act is commonly known as the POSH Act. The Act had a monumental effect on the Indian legal landscape. It became the first legislation that was drafted to deal with the workplace sexual harassment of women. The act made the employer responsible for creating a safe working environment. This meant that given the context of one’s workplace the management was responsible for preventing, prohibiting, and offering due redressing towards any incident of sexual harassment.
The POSH Act was crafted in a manner that would provide the utmost protection to any woman who faces sexual harassment either in the workplace or by any employee, client or even a third party contractor associated to her workplace. Therefore under the act sexual harassment is considered to be a violation of the fundamental rights of a woman – Inclusive of a woman’s right to live with dignity while performing any trade, profession, or business.
In the POSH Act, sexual harassment is defined as:
“sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexually tinted behaviour, whether directly or by implication, such as (i) physical contact and advances, (ii) demand or request for sexual favours, (iii) making sexually coloured remarks, (iv) showing pornography, or (v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.”
The act also defines quid pro quo type of sexual harassment which means a situation where a person of power pressurises a woman employee for sexual favours in return of favours/advancement at the workplace. The act applies to both the organised and unorganised sectors throughout India, inclusive of government, private and public sectors.
About the Author and Serein
Faakirah Junaid Rafiquee is a lawyer and content designer. She is an experienced head of operations skilled in research, policy analysis, human rights, mental health, women rights, workshop moderation and document drafting. She is a strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Law focused in women rights and policy analysis. She has facilitated and designed workshops on issues like feminism, prevention of mental health, and childhood sexual abuse. She also has developed courses, modules and programmes on the same issues. Faakirah writes on women’s and mental health issues.
The materials on this web site have been prepared by Serein Inc. for informational purposes only and are not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. Reader should not rely or act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.
Serein Inc is an end to end service partner for the implementation of Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) legal compliance. We partner with companies on case redressal and policies to proactively build safer work cultures and sexual harassment (POSH) trainings either in person or virtually. For more details on diversity, inclusion and prevention of sexual harassment (POSH training in India and the US). For more information on how to conduct a fair, timely and legally sound POSH enquiry process, reach out to email@example.com