There was an amendment to the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act in May 2016.
The nomenclature was changed from Internal Complaints Committee to Internal Committee and Local Complaints Committee to Local Committee.
According to the amendement vide Gazette notification issued on 9th May, 2016
4 The Sexual Harassment of In sections 6, 7 and 24,—
Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
(i) for the words “Local Complaints Committee”, wherever they occur, the words “Local Committee” shall be substituted;
(ii) for the words “Internal Complaints Committee”, wherever they occur, the words “Internal Committee” shall be substituted
The role of the sexual harassment Committees will not be restricted to complaint resolution but will encompass prevention and many other doables.
Clearly IC’s role is enhanced they will have to ensure they work towards prevention and prohibition:
- Create a culture of zero tolerance against sexual harassment at workplace
- Train your employees, managers and committee to identify such behavior and raise it.
- Practice open door policy! Encourage employees to clarify doubts and ask questions
- Be pro-active and ensure IC constantly works towards building safe, secure and conducive workplace for their employees
- Have very effective guidelines for disciplinary action, code of business conduct.
- Keep a vigilant eye and take preventive measures to advocate harmonious workplace. I recommend sharing case studies with employees and their outcome on the subject.
Changing the way IC team is called has clearly enhanced their role in the organisations. They have to now work towards making workplace “free of harassment”. In India clearly the women professionals are increasing day by day, not only in metro cities but also two tier, three tiers and even in rural areas. Men are also facing harassment from women and other men. It is the role of the employer and IC to provide employees with favorable workplace.
The above step is the first one towards making IC responsible for prevention and prohibition.