Mandatory Disclosure in Balance Sheets about Measures to Prevent Women’s Sexual Harassment at Workplace
A major step has been taken by Ministry of Corporate Affairs from this year towards effective implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 by making a mandatory disclosure of actions taken by companies to implement it. Thus annual report of the companies from this year will essentially also highlight initiatives taken them to make safe workplace for women.
In order to ensure better implementation of the law against sexual harassment at workplace, the Centre has made it mandatory for companies to disclose whether they have constituted an internal complaints committee (ICC) to probe such allegations.
The Corporate Affairs Ministry has amended the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014, governed by the Companies Act, 2013, mandating the disclosure. This has been a long-standing demand from Ministry for Women and Child Development.
Under the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, it is mandatory for any organisation with 10 or more employees to constitute an internal complaints committee (ICC). An employer who doesn’t do so could face a fine of up to ₹ 50,000.
This committee should consist of a presiding officer who is a woman employee at a senior level in the same organisation, at least two employees “preferably committed to the cause of women”, and a member from an NGO or a person “familiar with issues relating to sexual harassment.”
This committee would have powers similar to those of a civil court and would have to complete its inquiry within 90 days.
Thus, we advise all our industry members to read the official notification carefully and take necessary steps in their organizations to make the workplace safe for the women employees.