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Measures To Be Adopted By Employers To Prevent Online Sexual Harassment

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In our previous posts, we saw that sexual harassment that takes place over virtual platforms comes under the ambit of the “sexual harassment at the workplace” as per the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Law.  Additionally, we also understood how to identify ‘online sexual harassment.’ When it comes to controlling this menace, preventative measures are always superior to curative ones. To secure the company from claims of virtual sexual harassment, an employer must take adequate measures to ensure a safe place for work, both online and offline.  

  • Tailor your Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy

Based on the online platform a company chooses, their sexual harassment policy must be altered accordingly. It is important that, at the outset, the policy lays down in clear terms the code of conduct required to be followed in the virtual spaces. Specifically, the do’s and don’ts of the online office culture must be made abundantly clear. The policy should contain, in no uncertain terms, the grounds on which disciplinary action, including termination, can be taken.      

  • Sensitize your Employees on Online Working Ethics 

The employees must be sensitized to the ethics and mannerisms of an online workspace. The Human Resource department could take the initiative and conduct sessions for familiarizing the workforce with the code of conduct required while working such virtual platforms. This could involve instructional videos informing them on foundational topics, such as, respecting the working hours, refraining from passing lewd remarks on texts, videos, etc. Emails and newsletters could be circulated at regular intervals to keep reminding everyone to behave in accordance with their PoSH policy. Another way to refresh and remind the employees to keep being on their best behaviour is to put informational background images on all the channels of communications. 

  • Ensure your PoSH Training addresses instances of Online Sexual Harassment 

Facilitate e-learning modules or other specific PoSH training sessions targeted at policing the online presence of the employees as well as making the employees aware of what constitutes online sexual harassment. The training should make the employees aware of the PoSH policy of the organization and the redressal mechanisms, specifically tailored for the online platform. It can also include sessions for training the employees in the usage of the various modes of communication, such as video meetings, group hangouts, social media messaging, etc. and the appropriate language needed to be used across such media.  

  • Supervise The Online Activity

It is advisable to monitor the activity and communications of employees on the company devices. Blocking apps like Twitter, Facebook, etc. altogether also acts as a preventative measure to reduce liability. However, it is important to note that, regrettably, virtual sexual harassment can still be perpetuated through personal devices like smartphones on social media during office hours.  

  • Be Able to Monitor Employee Communication

In case the need arises in incidents of sexual harassment, the employers can rightfully require the communications to be checked and the same can be used as evidence by the Internal Committee. If required, the privacy policy should be updated to facilitate this, since it could exponentially increase the chances of a quick disposition of the case.  With one look at the conversation history between co-workers, the employer can ascertain whether any offensive content has been shared, if any derogatory or sexual comment has been made, etc.  While a case can be made that such close supervision may sow the seeds of doubt and mistrust between the management and the workforce, it is a justifiable measure to ensure the safety of the majority.


The above insights are a product of our learning and advisory at Lawcubator. Write to us at support@lawcubator.com for queries, feedback or consultation of PoSH. 

Also Read:

Do All Cases Of Online Sexual Harassment Qualify As Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Does Posh Law combat Online Sexual Harassment Amongst Remote Workforces?

 

 

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