The PoSH Act, 2013 has imposed on the employer of every organization the responsibility to ensure absolute compliance with the prevention of sexual harassment law. Punishment with fine upto Rs 50,000 (fifty thousand) can be imposed on the employer if:
- there is no Internal committee constituted at the workplace, or
- if the employer has not taken action after the Internal Committee(IC) has made its recommendations, or
- the annual report has not been submitted, or
- if the employer has contravened or attempted to contravene the mandatory provisions of the PoSH Act.
Contents of the Annual Report
Following details are required to be included in the annual report:
- Number of complaints of sexual harassment received in the year;
- Number of complaints disposed off during the year;
- Number of cases pending for more than ninety days;
- Number of workshops or awareness programme against sexual harassment carried out;
- Nature of action taken by the employer.
Mandate on the Internal Committee
As per Section 21 of the PoSH Act, 2013, the Internal Committee(IC) shall in each calendar year prepare and submit an annual report to the employer and district officer.
Mandate on the Employer
The employer must ensure:
- That the annual report incorporates all necessary information including the number of cases filed and their disposal;
- That the annual report is duly filed with the District Officer.
As stated above, in case of non-compliance, a penalty of Rs. 50,000 can be imposed on the employer.
Date of Filing of Annual Report
The PoSH Act states that in each calendar year the annual report must be submitted. However, it doesn’t provide for a specific timeline of submission. As a best practice organisations submit Annual Report by beginning of the next year (January) or as per notifications made by LCCs/District Officer/ State Authority or any other concerned official of the respective state/district.
The identities of the parties involved and details of the complaint and inquiry/conciliation are considered confidential under the provisions of the PoSH Act and are to be protected at all times.
Thus, the annual report must in no way reveal any details that lead to the identification of the aggrieved woman, the witnesses or the respondent(against whom complaint is filed).