Team working remotely? Sexual harassment in the workplace can happen anywhere

Regardless of your working location, India’s PoSH Act has employees covered, by recognising homes as a place of work

What is PoSH?

The PoSH Act was created to provide the utmost protection to any woman who faces sexual harassment either in the workplace or by any employee, client or even a third party contractor associated to her workplace. Therefore under the act sexual harassment is considered to be a violation of the fundamental rights of a woman – Inclusive of a woman’s right to live with dignity while performing any trade, profession, or business.

How is remote working defined?

Section 2(o) of the POSH Act determines that a workplace is in an inclusive and non-exhaustive manner any place visited by the employee in the course of employment, including a dwelling place or a house. With organisations pivoting to work from home from March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘employee homes’ were considered to fall under the definition of ‘extended workplace’.

What Forms of Sexual Harassment Happen in a Remote Working Scenario?

  • Sharing of inappropriate photos, videos, tagging co-workers on any inappropriate content.
  • Suggestive emoticons shared that may give an impression of unwelcoming sexual undertones to the reader.
  • Making sexually suggestive remarks or overtones during work calls – voice or video.
  • Repeated offensive remarks or such as teasing related to a person’s body or appearances.
  • Indecent behaviour or body language during video calls.
  • Lewd calls, messages or emails.
  • Offensive screen savers or poster or content that amount to sexual harassment during screen share.
  • Personal questions having sexual connotations or private comments or offensive jokes.
  • Questions or suggestions or remarks about a person’s sex life.
  • Unwelcome online invitations or flirting.
  • Unwelcome advances with promises or threats explicit or implicit.
  • Reaching out via text or call or email to a female colleague beyond 8pm consistently.

Is your team working from home? Is your POSH Policy, with emphasis on remote working accessible to your employees? Is your Internal Committee (IC) accessible to the employees even before a complaint is filed?

For assistance answering and actioning questions on your POSH act policies and more, get in touch with our team of experts :

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