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POSH ACT - 2013

Policy on Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal of Sexual Harassment at Workplace

OBJECTIVE:

As a Company, we are committed to conducting and governing ourselves with ethics, transparency and accountability and to this, we have developed governance structures, practices and procedures that ensure that ethical conduct at all levels is promoted across our value chain. It is thus in acknowledgement of and consonance with these values, that we are dedicated to ensuring that the work environment at all our locations is conducive to fair, safe and harmonious relations, based on mutual trust and respect, between all the associates of the Company.

We also strive to guarantee a safe and welcoming environment to all those who visit any of our locations in any capacity, such as customers, vendors etc. Discrimination and harassment of any type is strictly prohibited. We wish to promote and maintain this culture to ensure that associates of the Company do not engage in practices that are abusive in any form or manner whatsoever.

The Company aims to provide a safe working environment and prohibits any form of sexual harassment. Hence any act of sexual harassment or related retaliation against or by any associate is unacceptable. This policy therefore, intends to prohibit such occurrences and also details procedures to follow when an associate believes that a violation of the policy has occurred within the ambit of all applicable regulations regarding sexual harassment.

Making a false complaint of sexual harassment or providing false information regarding a complaint will also be treated as a violation of policy. All managers to ensure that they themselves as well as their team, including new joinees, are aware of the Policy on Prevention of Sexual Harassment in place and strictly adhere to it. Company will promptly investigate all complaints and take appropriate action, up to and including termination of employment.

APPLICABILITY:

This policy will extend to all associates of the Company including those employed on regular, temporary, ad-hoc, 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.

SCOPE:

The scope of the Policy is restricted to the following for all Associates:

  • Business locations of the Company
  • 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.
  • Any mode of transport provided by the Company (or a representative of the Company) for undertaking a journey to and from the aforementioned locations.
  • At any other location whether in India or outside India.

DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT:

“Aggrieved Associate” 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

“Employer” means in any workplace, any person responsible for the management, supervision and control of the Workplace.

“Sexual harassment" includes any unwelcome sexually determined behavior (direct or implied) such as physical contact and advances, unwelcome communications or invitations, demand or request for sexual favors, sexually cultured remarks, showing pornography, creating a hostile work environment and any other unwelcome sexually determined behavior (physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct) of a sexual nature.

“Sexual Harassment” would also mean:

i Quid pro quo sexual harassment, which means something in return or an exchange of one thing for another.

In the workplace, quid pro quo sexual harassment takes place if sexual favors are asked in exchange for any kind of special treatment on the job. Threatening an Associate about his/her present or future employment status if he/she does not consent to such sexual advances or a favor also amounts to sexual harassment. The act of asking may either be verbal or implied and the sexual conduct may be verbal or physical. But, in either case, it must be unwelcome.

For e.g.: Direct or implied requests or offers by any associate for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job benefits such as favorable reviews, salary increases, promotions, increased benefits, or continued employment constitutes sexual harassment.

Hostile work environment includes

  • Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when either speech or conduct of a sexual nature takes place, and is seen or perceived as offensive and interferes with the work performance of the recipient, or any one or more Associates.
  • Hostile environment sexual harassment may also include intimidating or harassing conduct that is directed at an individual, or a group of individuals.
  • It will also mean related retaliation which includes marginalizing someone in the workplace with regard to his / her roles and responsibilities, socially ostracizing, intimidating someone physically, psychologically, and emotionally or someone close to or related to the victim, to the extent the humiliation or intimidation affects the health or safety.

This is only an indicative list of the possible acts which could be treated as sexual harassment and is in no way intended to be construed as an exhaustive list. In countries where local laws / regulations have clearly defined sexual harassment and procedure to address any complaint relating to it, the interpretation of sexual harassment & the investigation procedure shall be guided in accordance with the local laws / regulations as applicable.

Sexual harassment may be one or a series of incidents involving unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any other verbal or physical conduct of sexual nature.

PROHIBITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT:

Sexual harassment by an employee of the company is strictly prohibited. Sexual harassment of an individual violates such individual’s rights to gender equality, to life and liberty and to work with human dignity and is further in clear conflict with the company’s commitment and policies to create and maintain a work environment that is free from all such unlawful discrimination. This prohibition is equally applicable to both men and women, and to the same or opposite gender relationships, relationships between supervisors and subordinates, and relationships between peers.

Any employee found guilty of committing act(s) of sexual harassment shall be liable to an immediate termination of employment/service/relationship with the company in accordance with this policy and/or as per the Code of Conduct policy of SAMCO.

It is further clarified that the making of any patently false or malicious allegation(s) of sexual harassment or providing patently false information in a proceeding to determine sexual harassment would also result in the Accused individual being liable to disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the applicable policies of the company.

COMPLAINT MECHANISM

Whether or not such conduct constitutes an offence under law or a breach of the service rules, an appropriate complaint mechanism in the form of “Complaints Committee” has been created in the Company for time-bound redressal of the complaint made by the victim.

CONSTITUTION OF COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE

The company has established a committee to deal with sexual harassment (“Complaints Committee”). Details of the committee are as follows:-

Sr. No. Committee Member Name Department Gender
1. Jimeet Modi Management – Samco Group Male
2. Keerthana Bangera Human Resource – Samco Group Female
3. Meera Modi NA Female
4. Siddhi Shah NA Female

The Complaints Committee is responsible for:

  • Investigating every formal written complaint of sexual harassment
  • Taking appropriate remedial measures to respond to any substantiated allegations of sexual harassment
  • Discouraging and preventing employment-related sexual harassment

CONFIDENTIALITY AND PROTECTION AGAINST VICTIMIZATION

The company recognizes that confidentiality of all matters relating to alleged acts of sexual harassment is of paramount importance. The Complaints Committee and other individuals responsible for the implementation of this policy will respect the confidentiality and privacy of individuals reporting or accused of sexual harassment to the extent reasonably possible. The company shall ensure that an employee who complains to the Complaints Committee or participates in the investigation of the Complaints Committee as a witness or otherwise shall not be subject to any unfavorable treatment whatsoever during the course of his/her employment and shall maintain confidentiality at all times.

PROCEDURES FOR RESOLUTION, SETTLEMENT OR PROSECUTION OF ACTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

The Company is committed to providing a supportive environment in which to resolve concerns of sexual harassment as under:

A. Informal Resolution Options

  1. When an incident of sexual harassment occurs, the victim of such conduct can communicate her disapproval and objections immediately to the harasser and request the harasser to behave decently.
  2. If the harassment does not stop or if the victim is not comfortable with addressing the harasser directly, she can bring her concerns to the attention of the Complaints Committee for redressal of her grievances. The Complaints Committee will thereafter provide advice or extend support as requested and will undertake prompt investigation to resolve the matter.

B. Complaints

  • Any employee with a harassment concern, who is not comfortable with the informal resolution options or has exhausted such options, may make a formal complaint to the Chairperson of the Complaints Committee constituted by the Management. The complaint shall have to be in writing and can be in the form of a letter, preferably within 15 days from the date of occurrence of the alleged incident, sent in a sealed envelope. Alternately, the employee can send complaints through an email. The employee is required to disclose her name, department, division and location she is working in, to enable the Chairperson to contact her and take the matter forward.
  • The Chairperson of the Complaints Committee will proceed to determine whether the allegations (assuming them to be true only for the purpose of this determination) made in the complaint fall under the purview of Sexual Harassment, preferably within 30 days from receipt of the complaint. In the event, the allegation does not fall under the purview of Sexual Harassment or the allegation does not mean an offence of Sexual Harassment, s/he will record this finding with reasons and communicate the same to the complainant.
  • If the Chairperson of the Complaints Committee determines that the allegations constitute an act of sexual harassment, s/he will proceed to investigate the allegation with the assistance of the Complaints Committee.
  • Where such conduct on the part of the accused amounts to a specific offence under the law, the Company shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with law by making a complaint with the appropriate authority.
  • The Complaints Committee shall conduct such investigations in a timely manner and shall submit a written report containing the findings and recommendations to the COMPANY HEAD/FOUNDERS & Head-HR as soon as practically possible and in any case, not later than 90 days from the date of receipt of the complaint. The COMPANY HEAD/FOUNDERS & Head-HR will ensure corrective action on the recommendations of the Complaints Committee and keep the complainant informed of the same.
  • Corrective action may include any of the following:
  • Formal apology
  • Counseling
  • Written warning to the perpetrator and a copy of it maintained in the employee’s file.
  • Change of work assignment / transfer for either the perpetrator or the victim.
  • Suspension or termination of the services of the employee found guilty of the offence.
  • In case the complaint is found to be false, the Complainant shall, if deemed fit, be liable for appropriate disciplinary action by the Management.

RECORDS AND MINUTES

The Complaints Committee shall maintain the records pertaining to the complaints and redressal thereof. All proceedings of the Complaints Committee shall be maintained in a minute book to be signed by all members of the Complaints Committee. The records and the minute book shall be under the custody of the Chairperson of the Complaints Committee.

DO’S

  • Know Samco policy on prevention of sexual harassment
  • Be aware of inappropriate behaviors and avoid the same.
  • Say - NO if asked to go to places, do things or participate in situations that make you Uncomfortable. Trust your instincts. Walk away from uncomfortable situations.
  • Say - NO to offensive behavior as soon as it occurs.
  • Refrain from taking discriminatory actions or decisions which are contrary to the spirit of this policy. Maintain confidentiality regarding any aspect of an inquiry to which they may be party to.

DON’T

VERBAL HARASSMENT:

Sexually suggestive comments or comments on physical attributes.

  • Offensive language that insults or demeans a colleague, using terms of endearment.
  • Singing or humming vulgar songs
  • Requests for sexual favours, sexual advances, coerced acts of a sexual nature.
  • Requests for dates or repeated pressure for social contact.
  • Discussing sexual activities, sexual prowess or intruding on the privacy of an associates.
  • Sexually colored propositions, insults or threats.
  • Graffiti in the office premises.

NON-VERBAL HARASSMENT:

  • Offensive gestures, staring, leering or whistling with the intention to discomfort another.
  • Even if not directly done to a particular individual, uttering a word, making a gesture or
  • Exhibiting any object with the intention that such word, gesture, or object be heard or seen by associates. Sounds, gestures, display of offensive books, pictures, cartoons, magazines, calendars or
  • derogatory written materials at one‘s workplace. Showing or mailing pornographic posters, Internet sites, cartoons, drawings.
  • Suggestive letters, phone calls, SMS, electronic instant messaging or e-mail messages.
  • Physical harassment.

PHYSICAL CONTACT OR ADVANCES:

  • Intentional touching of the body, e.g. Hugs, kisses, brushing, fondling, pinching etc. That makes others uncomfortable.
  • Any displays of affection that make others uncomfortable or are inappropriate at the workplace.