Role of HR to prevent sexual harassment

By: Palak Jain | In: HR Speak | Last Updated: 2020-01-10

HR’s role

Women’s safety and its questions are conferred and debated all around the world. Still every year several reports on sexual harassment are growing at an alarming rate. In the recent decade, women have increasingly earned a higher standard in the workplace. Women are now gaining upper positions and form a huge section of any working sector round the globe.
Women now are more liberated in every sense. They are capable enough to take care of themselves and their families. They are more able to make their own life choices and live in their terms. Sexual harassment can lead to anxiety, depression, lower self-esteem, alienation and overall degradation of their physical and mental health. It’s a disturbing fact that women in work still face sexual harassment, which is why many of them even quit their jobs.

How to define any incident as sexual harassment


  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, the employer’s agent, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim harassment only is physical misbehaviour. It could be anyone impacted by invasive conduct.
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may not bring economic injury to the victim or discharge of the victim.
  • The harasser’s conduct must be offensive or unwelcome.

How can an organisation ensure woman safety into their premises?
Below are some of the proactive approach they can employ for the woman safety

Sexual Harassment Policy:


  • Any big/small Organisations must have a Sexual Harassment Policy which defines:
  • Sexual harassment and its forms
  • Explain the zero-tolerance approach
  • Educate on inappropriate conduct
  • Outline consequences

Encourage Women to Express:

Generally, women facing sexual harassment doesn’t speak up. We as a society are responsible for this. We teach our girl child to behave and act in a particular way.

Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) on Women’s Safety:

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“POSH Act”) has made ICC compulsory for both the private and non-private for women’s safety on sexual harassment.

Role of an HR :


  • HR mandatorily needs to clarify to the employees about the safe work environment. And must play the role an intermediate to highlight any complaint or any women issues to higher authorities.
  • In the Employee Orientation Programme, the HR needs to give strict guidelines on sexual harassment to the new employees.
  • It is HR’s role to bring notice any unwelcome behaviours faced by the employees to higher authorities. Since the authority needs to take unbiased actions. The participation of HR is most important here.
  • They also explain the mechanisms to bring misconduct to the attention of someone who can do something about it. Therefore, they make sure counselling and support are available.
  • How to protect yourself against the sexual harassment
  • Recognize predator types can be male or female. “Sexual harassers may exhibit a strong sense of entitlement. They can be egocentric, showing little regard for your feelings. They may use demanding or disrespectful language. ” Witwer says. “They may engage in flattery or threats to manipulate you.”
  • Identify what’s inappropriate. “Behaviour is inappropriate if it’s not in line with societal standards and expectations. Build a healthy sense of self-worth and commit to your values and boundaries. Know what’s right and wrong for you.
  • Say no. If someone says or asks things that make you uncomfortable, tell them to stop. If they don’t, report it.
  • Know your rights. It’s unlawful to harass a person based on sex. Learn your workplace policy. If there’s no policy, speak to your supervisor or Human Resources. The law defends you from reprisal and punishment. It’s your right to report harassment.”
  • Don’t blame yourself. “Everyone deserves respect and empathy. She notes many women blame themselves for what’s done to them or for being manipulated. “If the alternative is to have your career damaged, it’s not true consent.”

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