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An Amendment for clarity

September 21, 2016

When the law The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013  was passed in 2013, it was clear that prevention and prohibition played larger role than redressal. The committee which was commissioned to do this was called ICC – Internal Complaints Committee. Due to its overtone as internal “complaints” committee many organisations used it for mere redressal. Being on various committees, I realized that the committee met only when there was a case to be redressed. Being an active third party member I would coax ICC to meet for prevention and prohibition but in vain. Finally Govt. of India took cognizance of this fact  and made the below amendment:


On 9th May, 2016, The Repaling and Amendments Act 2016 was published and the amendments included:

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013; In sections 6, 7 and 24,—

(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.

Read more to know how you can be compliant with the Act.

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