Dec 06

Seminar on 'Sexual Harassment at the Workplace and Effective Management of Employee Exits'

On December 06, 2018, the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC), in cooperation with its knowledge partner, Trilegal, organized a seminar on 'Sexual Harassment at the Workplace and Effective Management of Employee Exits', at IGCC’s office in Mumbai.

On December 06, 2018, the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC), in cooperation with its knowledge partner, Trilegal, organized a seminar on 'Sexual Harassment at the Workplace and Effective Management of Employee Exits', at IGCC’s office in Mumbai.

Atul Gupta, Partner, Trilegal, conducted the seminar that spanned the entire gamut, right from basic definitions to discussions on case studies and examples of certain judgements passed by Indian courts. It was a full house with 50 attendees, including Legal and Human Resource professionals from Indo-German companies. Bernhard Steinrücke, Director General, IGCC, welcomed the gathering and shared a few thoughts about the need to address the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, especially in light of the #MeToo movement and also how it was much more important for organizations to train and educate their employees in a manner that prevents sexual harassment at the workplace.

The seminar began with an overview of India’s journey on legally formalizing women’s rights from ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to passing the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act, in 2013. Mr. Gupta then familiarized the attendees with definitions of ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘the workplace’, according to POSH and explained why it was necessary to have an Internal Committee (IC) to hear and redress employees’ complaints on sexual harassment at the workplace. The discussion then delved into who is eligible to approach the IC, which complaints the IC needs to act on, what does not fall under the IC’s purview and the method to be followed while dealing with a complaint is received. The various levels of action that can be initiated against an employee found guilty of sexual harassment, as well as certain special situations where adequate recourse may not be possible, were also talked about. Attendees got insights into the legal requirements like the composition of the IC, what reports are to be legally submitted by the organizations and how the implementation should be done across multiple locations and offices, in order to ensure compliance with the law. Another interesting aspect that was brought out was how some organizations witnessed that the number of cases of sexual harassment reported to the IC were few at the beginning, increased as awareness programs about the IC and its role were conducted and then began to show a decline, as further educational activities and training were carried out. Mr. Steinrücke spoke about how some organizations in the US and other countries took a strict stand, banning any relationships outside those of a professional nature among employees, in order to prevent sexual harassment, while mentioning in a light-hearted manner how a lot of Germans often found their partners at the workplace!

Throughout the seminar, Mr. Gupta made things simple to understand, through relatable examples and case studies that allowed participants to visualize the possible scenarios better and also ask their doubts and queries. The lively and interactive presentation concluded with a quick question-answer session and a vote of thanks from Bernhard Steinrücke, Director General, IGCC, after which the participants proceeded for refreshments and networking.

For further information and details, please contact Honey Mehta at honey.mehta@indo-german.com / 022-66652144.

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