Practise

How the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) empowers an organisation

Posted by July 13, 2016

There has been an increase in the rise of sexual harassment cases at the workplace in India. As per data, 336 complaints of sexual harassment at workplace were registered in National Commission for Women till December 12, 2014. There would be many more €" unreported ones excluded from the official figure. What is it that makes it necessary for the government to enforce laws regarding sexual harassment? Where does the attitude towards gender inequality or discrimination stem from? Is it imbibed from the environment, is it intrinsic to our traditions or culture?

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is an act that seeks to provide protection as well as work towards prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment.

The Act requires all organisations to set up an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each location to address the issue of sexual harassment. The role of an Internal Complaints Committee is to act as a redressal authority, thereby regulating a smooth and safe functioning of the work environment. It also serves as a platform for women to raise their voice with reference to their security as an individual as well as an employee within the organisation. In case of a harassment incident, it is the ICC which provides redressal in accordance with principles of natural justice. Hence the ICC is the first call-to-action that a woman utilises.

Who constitutes the ICC?

  • Members of the ICC are to be nominated by the employer and headed by a Presiding Officer who is a women employee employed at a senior position
  • At least two members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge
  • One member from amongst non-governmental organisations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment e.g. lawyer
  • At least one-half of the members of ICC nominated by the employer must be women

All the members of the ICC must undergo a capacity building and skill building training programme so as to handle and redress complaints effectively and sensitively.

Additional features of the ICC:

  • Provide assistance to the aggrieved woman to file an official complaint, if required
  • Complete the redressal within 90 days from receipt of complaint
  • Submit Annual Report each year to the organisation and district officer, incorporating details of number of complaints received and disposed off during the year, cases pending for more than 90 days, number of workshops conducted or and the nature of action taken

The increase in the number of working women has made it necessary for an organisation to establish such committee focusing on prevention of sexual harassment and providing an efficient redressal mechanism. This is where Complykaro can guide your organisation as it empowers and provides round the year support to the ICC to deal with sexual harassment cases at the workplace.

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