BSE 500 complaints from PoSH increase 28%

MUMBAI: It has been more than three years since the Law on Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Reparation), or the Sexual Harassment Prevention (PoSH) Act came into force. And a large number of BSE 500-210 companies to be exact (42% of the total): they have stated in their annual reports that they have not received any complaints of sexual harassment since 2015-16.

However, according to a study by Complykaro Services, there has been a 28% increase in the total number of complaints of sexual harassment (in 1,453) received by the BSE 500 companies, an indicator that there is a greater awareness of PoSH. In 2017-18, the total number of complaints received by this segment of companies was 1,138.

The founder and coach of PoSH of Complykaro Services, Vishal Kedia, has presented two hypotheses about why a large number of companies have disclosed zero complaints of sexual harassment. “Either these companies have genuinely great work cultures, or they may not be doing enough to raise awareness about the law in letter and spirit. Therefore, female employees may not feel comfortable enough to file and file complaints.

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On the other hand, Kedia said that a greater number of complaints registered by any company only indicates that the employees have the level of convenience of presenting themselves and speaking, regardless of whether such complaints are proven or not. “It seems very unlikely that a medium to large company will receive zero complaints. Complaints should be filed regardless of whether they are proven or not, Kedia said.

Organizations that revealed a large number of complaints, followed by a repair of them, include some of the leading financial and IT services firms. Wipro received the maximum increase in the absolute number of complaints in 41. Complykaro Services said this indicates significant awareness interventions carried out at the company.

ICICI Bank and Infosys have shown a maximum reduction in absolute numbers, in 40 and eight respectively. According to Complykaro Services, this could indicate that the work culture is improving due to increased awareness as women employed are empowered and others sensitized.

Infosys executive vice president and director (HR), Richard Lobo, said the company has a strong mechanism to handle harassment complaints. We have seen that in recent years, awareness of sexual harassment has increased and we continue to encourage our employees to speak through the right channels for any form of harassment, Lobo said.