Internal Committee (IC) formation at the workplace: A Step-by-Step Guide.

The PoSH Act, 2013 (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment at Workplace)is a significant element of legislation in India. The purpose of the law’s formulation was to give women a secure workplace. The law offers guidelines for punitive action in addition to a focus on preventing sexual harassment. Additionally, the law places accountability on all private employers, as well as NGOs, PSUs, and Central and Local Governments. (1)

The law also directs the formation of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) now called the Internal Committee (IC) in the workplace for redressal of Sexual harassment complaints. In India, the companies must have an IC, or else they can be penalised with a fine up to INR 50,000. (2)

Adomi helps companies to stay compliant to the PoSH Act, 2013 and also facilitates in the formation of IC while educating and training the employees and the members of the committee.

Here is our step-by-step guide for the formation of the IC at the workplace.

1. Create a Policy:
Develop a policy that states that there will be no tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace. The policy should specify the organization’s commitment to preventing harassment as well as the steps for filing complaints and handling them.

2. Identify the Stakeholders
Identify the Individuals within the organization who will be involved in the formation and functioning of the IC. This may include people from senior management, human resources professionals, legal advisors, and employee representatives. The members of the Complaints Committee must comprehend the problem and possess the maturity to manage complaints and their resolution.

3. Decide the Structure of the IC
The Internal Committee must be construed in accordance to the Posh Act, 2013 guidelines(3). As per the guidelines the IC should have :

  1. Presiding Officer: The presiding officer is the Chairperson of the IC, it is mandatory that only a women should be appointed for this position as it makes it easier for an aggrieved person to approach IC for the complaints. The appointed person should be employed at a senior level in the organization, in case no such person is available then the employer can designate any other woman from administrative units/offices or another location under its ownership.
  1. Internal Members: A minimum of Two (2) members of the Internal Complaints Committee must be chosen from among the staff members who are dedicated to the advancement of women and possess social work experience, or are aware of the PoSH Act, 2013. Since it is not always feasible for staff members to be knowledgeable about the law, it is the employer’s responsibility to regularly train the employees so they have the information and abilities to handle complaints.
  2. External Member: The external member of the IC has to be selected from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment. The person should have an experience of at least 5 years of working with such institutions. The person should be familiar with labor, service, civil or criminal law. It is necessary to have an external member in the committee to maintain a sense of objectivity and a third-party viewpoint in the working of IC.

4. Train
After the IC is established, it is crucial to educate its members on the problem of sexual harassment and to provide them with training on the complaint redressal process. Members who are well-informed and sensitive to sexual harassment issues will be able to adjudicate any such cases appropriately.

5. Broadcast
Once the IC has been formed it is mandatory to broadcast the details of the committee with in the workplace. All employees at all levels should be notified and informed about the members of the IC.

Few things to be taken care by Employers while constituting the IC

  1. At Least one-half (50%) of the total members nominated to IC must be women. So, if there are Four (4) members in the IC (which is the minimum requirement for a valid IC constitution), at least Two (2) members must be women (which must include the Presiding Officer who should be a senior woman employee).
  1. The IC is to be constituted at all administrative units and offices of a company, and once the committee is appointed the details of the Internal Complaints Committee Policy is to be notified to all persons at the workplace.
  1. In IC, there can be a minimum of Four (4) participants. It requires a certain minimum number, but not a maximum. Because of this, the number of IC members can also be increased based on factors like the organization’s size, the number of offices and administrative units, the number of employees at each location, etc.
  1. All members of the Internal Committee can hold the position only for Three (3) years.


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