How the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) Empowers an Organisation

Sexual harassment cases have become a hot topic in many workplaces across the country. Now and then, it’s almost a common scenario to hear about this problem in the news. Sadly, these violent acts occur almost every day, hindering women from enjoying their right to have a peaceful livelihood and life as a whole.

This is the reason why organizations need to have a special committee that will be exclusively responsible for and in charge of addressing and resolving sexual harassment issues in the workplace. It’s almost imperative for this committee to be accessible to all workers. It is how the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) empowers an organization.

What is the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)?

According to the PoSH Act, organizations are legally mandated to follow certain legislative obligations. One of these is to establish or form the Internal Complaints Committee or ICC. The main task of the ICC is to receive sexual harassment complaints in the workplace from aggrieved female employers.

The ICC will also be in charge of conducting the necessary investigation and providing reasonable recommendations to the employer regarding the action that must be taken as a result of the investigation. The ICC must also be constituted in the organization and must be made up of 10 or more employees.

Who are the Members of the ICC?

The employer will nominate the members of the ICC. It is also headed by a female employee with a senior position who will serve as the Presiding Officer.

At least two other members are employees who are preferably committed to women’s rights cause, have the legal knowledge, or have a previous experience in the field of social work.

Another member of the ICC must come from a non-governmental association or organization that is also committed to women’s rights cause. This member can also be a person who is familiar with and knowledgeable about the problems concerning sexual harassment, such as a lawyer. Finally, at least half of the ICC members should be women and nominated by the employer.

It is also important to remember that all ICC members must go through the necessary skill-building and capacity-building training programs. This will ensure that they will be able to redress and handle complaints sensitively and effectively.

Other Features, Responsibilities, and Roles of the ICC

The ICC empowers organizations in many different ways. Most importantly, the committee is expected to take on the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Complete the redressal process in a matter of 90 days after the complaint is received.
  • Offer assistance to the aggrieved woman when filing the official complaint if necessary.
  • Submit the Annual Report to both the district office and the organization every year. This report must incorporate details of each complaint receive and handled throughout the year, the cases pending for over 90 days, the workshops conducted, as well as the nature of the actions taken.

The Bottom Line

With the increasing number of female employees in many organizations, it has become more important than ever to establish a special committee that prevents sexual harassment and provides an efficient redressal mechanism. The Internal Complaints Committee can empower any organization and provide year-round support to address cases of workplace sexual harassment.