POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment)


  1.  Objective
     
    Tophawks is committed to creating a safe work environment that is free from any form of sexual harassment and where all employees are treated with dignity and respect. Tophawks is dedicated to maintain an environment which is free from coercion and intimidation. Tophawks has zero tolerance policy against any kind of harassment at workplace, that affects the dignity of women.
     
    The objective of this policy is to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected therewith.

2 Applicability
 
This policy will extend to all associates of the Company including those employed on regular, temporary, ad-hoc or daily wage basis, either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, whether for the remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are
express or implied (hereinafter referred to as “Associates”).
 
The policy also extends to those who are not employees of the Company, such as customers, visitors, vendors, suppliers, contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or called by any other such name, but are subjected to sexual harassment at the Premises (defined hereinafter) of the Company.
 

  1.  Scope
     
    The scope of the Policy is restricted to the following for all Associates:
    i. business locations of the Company
    ii. any external location visited by Associates due to or during the course of their employment with the Company such as business locations of other Companies/entities, guest houses etc. 
    iii. any mode of transport provided by the Company (or a representative of the Company) for undertaking a journey to and from the aforementioned locations.
    iv. at any other location whether in India or outside India.

4 Definitions
 
i. Act: Act means The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
ii. Workplace/Premises: The workplace referred in this policy is not only restricted to office premises but also may include company vehicles, third party premises, off site meetings and office external.
iii. Associate/Employee: A person employed at a workplace for any work on regular, temporary, ad hoc or daily wage basis, either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, with or, without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes a co-worker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or called by any other such name.
iv. Aggrieved Associate: It means in relation to a workplace, any individual, of any age whether employed in the Company or not, who alleges to have been subjected to any act of Sexual Harassment by the associate of the Company.
v. Employer: In relation to any department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit of the appropriate Government or a local authority, the head of that department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or
unit or such other officer as the appropriate Government or the local authority, as the case may be, may by an order specify on this behalf.
vi. Sexual Harassment: Sexual Harassment as defined under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013 includes:

Any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behavior (whether directly or by implication)
namely:

 

a. Unwelcome physical contact or advances – (For e.g., unwanted deliberate touching of hair, body, clothing, leaning over, stalking, elevator eyes, cornering, pinching, brushing up, molestation etc.); or

b. Any unwelcome sexual advances, demand or request for sexual favours either implicitly or explicitly whether or not in return for betterment in employment or working
conditions or under the threat of detriment to working prospects in any manner whatsoever, or
c. Making sexually coloured remarks or innuendos; (for e.g., Turning work discussions to sexual topics, asking personal questions about sex life, sexual preferences, comments
about sexual orientation or interest
d. Showing pornography (e.g., display of pictures, sexually suggestive and offensive emails, messages, WhatsApp shares, jokes etc.; or
e. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature; or
f. Any act or conduct of a person in authority or otherwise, which outrages the modesty or dignity of the aggrieved woman or is humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety and /or create a hostile and/or intimidating work environment or;
g. Any conduct of an unwelcome sexual nature, which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the aggrieved associate’s work performance

Following circumstances amongst other circumstances mentioned above may constitute sexual harassment if it occurs or is present in relation or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment:
 

i. implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in their employment;
ii. implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in their employment;
iii. implied or explicit threat about their present or future employment status;
iv. interfering with their work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment; humiliation treatment likely to affect their health or safety.
vii.   Respondent: Employees against whom the complaint has been filed.
viii.  Internal Committee: An independent Committee named ‘Internal Committee’ has been formed to ensure prevention and redressal of all sexual harassment complaints.

5 Internal Committee (IC)
 
Every complaint received shall be forwarded to Internal Committee formed under the policy for redressal. The investigation shall be carried out by Internal Committee constituted for this purpose.
 
Internal Committee has been constituted of the following members as nominated by the Company:
 
a. A Presiding Officer who shall be a woman employed at a senior level at workplace from amongst the employees. Provided that in case a senior level woman employee is not available, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from other offices or administrative units of the workplace referred to in sub-
section. Provided further that in case the other offices or administrative units of the workplace do not have a senior level woman employee, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from any other workplace of the same employer or other department or organization.
b. Not less than two Members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge.
c. One member shall be from amongst non-governmental organizations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment.

Provided that at least one-half of the total members so nominated shall be women.

Tophawks shall at all times, notify via the intranet/display of notices, names of the members who constitute the Internal Committees, along with their contact numbers and email addresses. Any changes in the membership of the ICs shall be duly notified.
 
Internal Committee shall meet at least once in a year and as when it is required. The quorum shall be presence of at least two members or one third of the members of the committee whichever is greater, including Presiding officer of the Committee.
 
The Presiding Officer and every Member of the Internal Committee shall hold Office for such period, not exceeding three years, from the date of their nomination.
 
The Name of the members of the Internal Committee is as per Annexure A of this Policy and any change in such composition shall be reflected in the policy.

  1.   Role of the Internal Committee
     
    a. Review the complainant ‘s complaint in a fair and objective manner
    b. Help the complainant and the respondent find a way of solving the problem
    c. Determine the facts of the case with the individuals concerned and the witnesses, if any, and prepare a report with the findings
    d. Be bound in the principle of natural justice and be unbiased in their evaluation
  1.   Grievance Mechanism
     
            7.1    Raising of complaint
     

a. Any aggrieved individual may make in writing, a complaint of sexual harassment at the workplace to the Internal Committee or may send an e-mail to Tophawks or may directly send complaint to official individual e-mail ID of the Internal Committee
Members (refer Annexure A) within a period of three (3) months from the date of incident and in case of more than one incident, within a period of three months from the date of last incident. Complaints arising of incidents more than three (3) months old
shall not be accepted.                                                                                                          
           
b. However, the IC may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, extend such time limit of filing complaint up to further 3 months, if it is satisfied that bonafide circumstances prevented the aggrieved individual from filing complaint within the time limit
mentioned herein above. The complaint should clearly mention name and available details of both the aggrieved person and the respondent. Anonymous or pseudonymous complaints will not be investigated. 
c. In case the employee communicates verbally to his/her Team manager, HR Manager, or any other employee about any incident/s, they are encouraged to forward the complaint
in writing to the Internal Committee or email. The HR Department will officially forward the complaint to the Presiding Officer of IC within seven (7) days from the date
of making of the complaint.
d. Where the aggrieved individual is unable to make the complaint on account of her/his physical or mental incapacity or death or otherwise, his/her representative, legal heir or such other person as may be prescribed under the act may make a complaint.
e. The complainant shall submit the supporting documents & relevant details of the complaint concerning the alleged act of sexual harassment(s) including names and address of witnesses, if any which the complainant believes to be true and accurate.

7.2    Redressal of Complaints
a. Conciliation

Before the IC initiates an inquiry, the complainant may request the IC to take steps to resolve the matter through conciliation provided no monetary settlement shall be made as basis of
conciliation. If a settlement has been so arrived, the IC shall record the same and forward the same to the Employer and provide copies of the settlement to the aggrieved individual and the respondent. In such cases, no further inquiry shall be conducted by the IC.
b. Inquiry
i.  In case the conciliation fails to arrive at a settlement or if the Aggrieved Associate informs the Committee that the terms and conditions of the settlement have not been complied with by the respondent, the Committee shall proceed to make an inquiry
into the complaint filed before the Committee. 
ii. The IC within 7 (seven) working days of receiving the complaint shall forward one copy thereof to the respondent for obtaining a response.
iii. The respondent within 10 (ten) working days of receiving the complaint shall file his/her reply to the complaint along with list of supporting documents, names and addresses of witnesses.
iv. The IC shall consider the reply from the respondent and initiate an inquiry. The complainant or the respondent to the complaint shall not be allowed to bring any legal practitioner to represent them at any stage of the proceedings before the IC. IC shall hear both the complainant and the respondent on date(s) intimated to them in advance and the principles of natural justice will be followed accordingly.
v. In the event of failure to attend personal hearing before IC by the complainant or the respondent on three consecutive dates (intimated in advance), the IC shall terminate the inquiry proceedings or give an ex-parte decision. However, the IC shall serve a notice in writing to the party (ies), 15 (fifteen) days in advance, before such termination or the ex-parte order. 
vi. The inquiry process shall be completed maximum within the period of 90 (ninety) days from the date of receipt of the complaint.

  1.   Disciplinary actions 
     
    During the pendency of inquiry, on a written request made by the Aggrieved Associate, the Committee, may recommend to the Company to –
    a. transfer the Aggrieved Associate or the respondent to any other workplace; or
    b. grant leave to the Aggrieved Associate up to a period of three months; or
    c. grant such other relief to the Aggrieved Associate as may be prescribed.
     
    The leave granted to the Aggrieved Associate under this section shall be in addition to the leave he/she would be entitled to otherwise if the case is proved.
     
    Once the investigation is completed, the IC shall provide a report of its findings to the Company, within ten (10) days from the date of completion of the inquiry and such report shall be made available to the concerned parties. The Company shall act upon the recommendation of the Committee with sixty (60) days of receipt of the report of the Committee.

The Committee shall make a determination regarding the validity of the harassment allegations. If it is determined that the harassment has not occurred, it shall recommend to the Company that no action is required to be taken in this matter. If it is determined that harassment has occurred; prompt, remedial action will be taken. The Committee will share the investigation details and the findings thereof with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company and agree on the applicable disciplinary action. 
 
The disciplinary action will be carried out by the CEO. Such disciplinary action may even include warning (verbal or written), written apology from offender, transfer, demotion or termination. All related documents will be maintained in the associate’s folder, ensuring confidentiality.

  1.   Penal Consequences of Sexual Harassment
     
    In case the Committee finds the degree of offence coverable under the Indian Penal Code, then this fact shall be mentioned in its report and appropriate action shall be initiated by the employer, for making a Police Complaint. Under the Indian Penal Code, (IPC), the newly introduced Section (S. 354A) which deals with Sexual Harassment has made this a ‘cognizable offense’ i.e., a person charged with Sexual Harassment may be arrested without a warrant. 
     
  2.  Appeals and Alternate Legal Remedies
    An associate wishing to make an appeal from the decision/findings/recommendations of the IC may do so in
    writing to the HR Head. All appeals should be submitted within 90 days of the inquiry report being issued.
  1.  Malafide Complaint
     
    Post inquiry in to the complaint, if it is prima facie found that the complaint raised may be with malafide intent, a separate inquiry will be conducted by unrelated members into the same. The company can take the same disciplinary action as stated above against a person found guilty of such malafide complaint. Lack of evidence to support complaint does not indicate a malafide intention.
     
  2.  Protection against Retaliation
     
    Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy and any person found to have retaliated against an individual for reporting harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary procedures.
     
    If anyone feels that he/she is experiencing retaliation of the nature of intimidation, pressure to withdraw the case or threats for reporting, testifying or otherwise participating in the proceedings, should report the matter to the Internal Committee.
     
    As with complaints of harassment, this too will be treated as a misconduct and Tophawks will take appropriate action to prevent/rectify the retaliation. Retaliation will be treated as seriously as an alleged case of harassment and will apply even if the original complaint is not proven.
      
  3.  Confidentiality
     
    Tophawks will exercise utmost care in ensuring confidentiality of the process, protection of the
    victim/harassed and treat the entire process with dignity & merit it deserves. Breaches of confidentiality which are found to have taken place may result in the same disciplinary actions as stated above. Involved parties breaching the confidentiality provisions shall, in addition to the above be liable to penalty. Tophawks shall recover a sum of INR 5,000 (Indian Rupees Five thousand) as penalty from such person.
  1.  Annual Reporting
     
    The IC shall prepare an annual report and submit the same to the district officer (a summary of which shall be submitted to the State Government) which should inculcate the following details:
    1. Number of cases of sexual harassment received in a year;
    2. Number of complaints disposed off in a year;
    3. Number of cases pending for more than 90 (ninety) days;
    4. Number of workshops of awareness programs carried out against sexual harassment;
    5. Nature of action being taken by the Executive Committee or the employer.
       
      While making Annual Reporting, the confidentiality will be managed by the Company.
  1.  Modification and review of the policy
     
    Company may make any alteration or amendment or rescind any of the clauses of this Policy as and when it finds it necessary to do so as long as it complies with the Act. Any such alterations or amendment or rescinding will be intimated to the employees and due approvals will be taken by the Company.
  1.  Duties of the Employer
     
    The Company shall: 
    a. provide a safe working environment at the workplace which shall include safety from the persons coming into contact at the workplace; 
    b. display at any conspicuous place in the workplace, the penal consequences of sexual harassment
    c. organize workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitizing the Associates with the provisions of the Act and orientation programmes for the members of the Committee in the manner as may be prescribed;
    d.  provide necessary facilities to the Committee for dealing with the complaint and conducting an inquiry;
    e.  assist in securing the attendance of respondent and witnesses before the Committee
    f.  make available such information to the Committee as it may require having regard to the complaint made;
    g. provide assistance to the Aggrieved Associate if he/she so chooses to file a complaint against the respondent in relation to the offence under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force;
    h.  cause to initiate action, under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force, against the perpetrator, or if the Aggrieved Associate so desires, where the perpetrator is not an Associate, in the workplace at which the incident of sexual harassment took place;
    i.  treat sexual harassment as a level 3 misconduct under the disciplinary policy of the Company and initiate action for such misconduct;
    j.  monitor the timely submission of reports by the Committee.
  1.  Conclusion
     
    In conclusion, Tophawks reiterates its commitment to providing its employees, a workplace free from harassment/ discrimination and where every employee is treated with Dignity and respect. The identity and address of the aggrieved associate, respondent and witnesses shall not be published or disclosed to the public or media.