Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I do if I feel that I am being sexually harassed at a workplace?
    1. Inform the person that their behaviour is making you uncomfortable and that it should stop. This would be probably result in the sexually harassing behaviour stopping particularly if the person did not realize that their behaviour was making you uncomfortable.
    2. Inform your manager or the person’s manager or your HR about the behaviour if you are uncomfortable communicating with the person or if you feel it might lead to retaliation. They may be able to get the person to stop the sexually harassing behaviour.
    3. Confide in someone you trust. They may be able to help you deal with the situation better.
    4. If you observe a pattern of sexually harassing behaviour, start maintaining a log with the dates, times and brief description of the behaviour.
    5. Retain any harassing content that may have been sent to you. This will be useful as evidence to support your complaint should you decide to file one.
    6. Make note of the other persons who have witnessed the incidents and the time and place.
    7. SUBMIT A COMPLAINT to the committee responsible for dealing with complaints of workplace sexual harassment. You may do this irrespective of whether or not you have done any of the above. Indian law requires your organization to have such a committee (commonly known as "(POSH Internal Complaints Committee") in place at every location where they have 10 or more employees (not just female employees) and they must conspicuously display or publish contact details of such committee and the process for dealing with such complaints.
  • I am not sure I have enough evidence to prove that I have been sexually harassed. If I file a complaint with the POSH evidence it be treated as a false complaint?
    1. Mere lack of evidence or insufficient evidence does not automatically make the complaint a false one.
    2. It is essential to understand that it may not always be possible to provide tangible evidence since sexual harassment may occur in private environments where there may not be any witnesses or cameras to corroborate your testimony. The absence of tangible evidence does not negate the fact that an individual may have felt harassed or uncomfortable, and hence, it is still important to report such incidents that make you feel sexually harassed in the workplace.
    3. Often it is the complainant’s testimony that is sufficient to prove sexual harassment if there are no material contradictions or gaps in the testimony. In the event the POSH committee finds that there is insufficient evidence to corroborate the testimony of the complainant, they are more likely to return a finding of not guilty due to insufficient evidence rather than determining it to be a false complaint. This is true unless the respondent is able to provide strong evidence to prove that the complainant has knowingly made a false complaint.
  • I am being sexually harassed. I am afraid that submitting a formal complaint may invite retaliation from the harasser. Can I file the complaint anonymously?
    1. An Internal Committee must follow principles of natural justice when inquiring into a complaint of sexual harassment. One of these principles requires that the respondent (alleged harasser) be given a fair and reasonable opportunity to defend against the allegations. Such a defence may not be possible if the respondent does not know who has made the complaint.
    2. The respondent may not be able to refute the allegations with regard to details such as time, place, etc. unless they know who is complaining. Hence, Internal Committees will not be able to accept anonymous complaints or conceal the identity of the complainant from the alleged harasser in an inquiry under POSH law.
    3. However, the Internal Committee and organization must implement suitable mechanisms to ensure protection of the complainant and witnesses against retaliation. Also, the law protects the complainant’s identity from being revealed to anyone other than Internal Committee members, the respondent, the witnesses involved and anyone else who is required to know it for the purpose of providing remedial action.