POSH Alert | Nov 2019 : Conducting an Inquiry (Part – 2)

In the first segment of this three-part series, we shared the general guidelines for conducting an Inquiry. This edition will provide a commentary on the rights and obligations of the Complainant and the Respondent.

The Inquiry should begin with meeting the Complainant to understand her complaint in toto. It proceeds with informing both the Complainant and the Respondent and their respective witnesses if any, about the relevant aspects under the Act, the Company policy and the Inquiry procedure. The Law ensures unbiased hearing into the Complaint and to that extent, both the parties shall have certain rights.

Rights of the Complainant

  1. Inquiry into the Complaint without any delay or demur
  2. Keeping the identity confidential throughout the process on the Complainant’s request
  3. In case of fear of intimidation from the Respondent, recording statement of the Complainant in-camera
  4. Right to cross-examination of the Respondent and the Respondent’s witnesses
  5. Interim Relief on written request, as per service rules of the organisation
  6. Right to receive a copy of the Findings Report
  7. Right to Appeal

Rights of the Respondent

  1. Right to copy of the Complaint along with all the evidence and a list of witnesses submitted by the complainant
  2. Inquiry into the Complaint without prejudicial delay
  3. Right to cross-examination of the Complainant and the Complainant’s witnesses
  4. Right to receive a copy of the Findings Report
  5. Right to Appeal
  6. Inquiry into Sexual Harassment complaints should always be timely, thorough, fair, completely documented and extremely confidential
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