Preventing Workplace Harassment: Role of Employers and Employees under the POSH Act

Workplace harassment is a serious issue that can have far-reaching consequences for both individuals and organizations. Recognizing the importance of fostering safe and inclusive work environments, the Government of India introduced the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, commonly known as the POSH Act. This landmark legislation aims to create a framework for preventing and addressing workplace harassment, ensuring the well-being and dignity of all employees. In this blog, we will explore the roles and responsibilities of both employers and employees in preventing workplace harassment under the POSH Act.

The Role of Employers:

  1. Policy Formulation and Communication

Employers have a crucial responsibility to create a clear and comprehensive anti-harassment policy. This policy should outline what constitutes harassment, the process for filing complaints, and the redressal mechanism. Once formulated, the policy must be effectively communicated to all employees, ensuring that everyone is aware of their rights and the steps to take in case of harassment.

  1. Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)

Under the POSH Act, employers are mandated to establish an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in organizations with 10 or more employees. The ICC is responsible for receiving, investigating, and addressing complaints of workplace harassment. Employers must ensure that the ICC is constituted according to the law, comprises both internal and external members, and functions impartially.

  1. Awareness and Training

Employers should conduct regular awareness and training sessions on preventing workplace harassment. These sessions should educate employees about their rights, the types of behavior considered harassment, and the avenues for redressal. By fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity, employers can contribute significantly to preventing harassment.

  1. Prompt and Fair Redressal

Employers must ensure that any complaints of workplace harassment are addressed promptly and fairly. The ICC should conduct thorough investigations and provide a safe space for complainants to share their experiences. If harassment is found to have occurred, appropriate action must be taken against the perpetrator, which may include warnings, suspension, or termination.

  1. Confidentiality and Non-Retaliation

Employers should guarantee the confidentiality of the complainant and all parties involved in the investigation. Additionally, they must prohibit any form of retaliation against employees who report harassment or participate in the investigation. This ensures that employees feel safe and supported when coming forward with complaints.

The Role of Employees:

  1. Understanding the Policy

Employees should familiarize themselves with the organization’s anti-harassment policy. It’s important to understand what behaviors are considered harassment and how to file a complaint if necessary. By being informed, employees can actively contribute to maintaining a respectful work environment.

  1. Reporting Harassment

If an employee experiences or witnesses workplace harassment, they have a responsibility to report it to the appropriate authorities, such as the ICC or designated authority within the organization. Reporting harassment is crucial for preventing its escalation and ensuring that the necessary actions are taken to address the issue.

  1. Cooperating with Investigations

Employees who file complaints or are involved in investigations should cooperate fully with the ICC or designated authorities. This includes providing accurate information, attending meetings, and participating in the investigative process. Cooperation helps ensure a fair and comprehensive examination of the situation.

  1. Respecting Confidentiality

Maintaining confidentiality is essential for protecting the privacy and dignity of all parties involved. Employees should respect the confidentiality of the complaint and the identity of the complainant, avoiding any discussions that could compromise the integrity of the investigation.

  1. Promoting a Respectful Culture

Employees play a vital role in creating a culture of respect and inclusion within the workplace. By treating colleagues with dignity, refraining from inappropriate behavior, and speaking out against harassment, employees contribute to a safe and supportive environment for everyone.


The POSH Act is a significant step toward preventing workplace harassment and fostering a culture of respect and dignity. Employers and employees both have integral roles to play in its successful implementation. By fulfilling their responsibilities outlined in the act, employers can create an environment where harassment is unacceptable and promptly addressed. Employees, on the other hand, can contribute by understanding their rights, reporting incidents, and promoting a workplace culture that prioritizes mutual respect and well-being. Together, employers and employees can work towards building safer, more inclusive workplaces that benefit individuals and organizations alike.

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