Prevention Of Sexual Harassment At Workplace: Lessons From Case Laws


Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (POSH) is a law to provide protection to the woman from Sexual Harassment at the workplace. Sexual harassment is a violation of fundamental rights under the Constitution of India. This violates the Right of Equality under Article 14 and Article 15 of the Constitution of India. And it also violates the Right to Life and to Live with Dignity under Article 21. So, The legislature enacted a law “The Sexual Harassment of Woman at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. This act makes sexual Harassment illegal and talks about how to complain about this kind of behavior. The Supreme Court issued guidelines in the case of “Vishakha” against the sexual harassment of women at the workplace. But the government does not work on this issue until rapped by the Supreme Court in case of “Medha Kotwal Lele Vs UOI (2013).


Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual behavior, whether directly or by implication, such as:

  • Physical contact and advances;
  •  Demand or request for sexual favors;
  •  Making sexually colored remarks;
  •  Showing pornography or;
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.


According to this act “Employer” includes Heads and Officers of the government departments and units. And in private entities, it includes any person who is responsible for the management, supervision, and control of the workplace


The term workplace includes any department, organization, undertaking owned or managed by Government or private sector organization, undertaking, enterprise, or institution. And the place visited by the employee during the course of employment and telecommunication and virtual spaces shall also include under the definition of workplace


  • The POSH, Act mandates that no woman shall face any kind of sexual harassment at the workplace. And the obligation to curb this evil situation is on the Employer.
  •  The employer shall have to constitute an Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) Under the POSH Act, 2013, to deal with the complaints of sexual harassment.
  • Drafting of sexual harassment policy and approval of the same by the Board.
  • Convening the meeting of the committee from time to time.
  • The law mandates that every employee shall undergo sensitization training each year conducted by the Employer.
  •  The investigation shall be conducted on complaints made to the committee.
  • The employer shall help to make an FIR if required.
  • The employer shall file the annual return under the Act.


POSH mandates that every employer with more than 10 employees shall constitute an internal committee (IC) to tackle the complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace.  Organized and unorganized both sectors are covered under the ambit of this act. And the non-compliance of the rules of this Act will lead to the penal consequences. The Act requires the Employer to conduct the educational and sensitization programs in order to make policies against sexual harassment.


If the employer fails to comply with the rules of the act or fails to conduct the Internal Complaint Committee, shall be punishable with the fine of 50000. And shall be punishable with twice the amount of fine if subsequently commits the same offence.

Extended Penalty

  • Cancellation or withdrawal of the license
  •  Non-renewal or cancellation of registration.

And, the penalties under the act may also prove fatal to the employer in terms of:

Once prosecuted under the act, will lead to damage to reputation. So, the growth of the business will be affected.


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