Psychosocial Impact of the Inquiry process under POSH Act (2013)

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act) was enacted in 2013 to provide a process, mechanism and awareness around building safe and healthy work environments especially for women. The Law sought to respond to the social and historical vulnerabilities of women especially at the workplace and provide a clear understanding of not just what constitutes sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour, but also to create clear channels for disciplinary inquiry and redressal of the same.

However, it is important to understand that the process of filing a complaint of sexual harassment at the workplace and the ensuing process of redressal can carry a psychosocial impact for all those who play a part through the process, not just the complainant or the aggrieved individual but even the accused or the respondent, any witnesses called upon during the process and even the members of the Internal Committee of the organisation inquiring into the complaint.

Of course, the nature of this impact is different and specific to the distinct roles of these individuals, their experience and the facts of the case.

This series aims to spotlight this impact inherent in the process of redressal of sexual harassment complaints.