Additional Policies

Additional Policies

Prevention Of Sexual Harassment

  • 1. Introduction to the policy1.1 Cognitus believes in providing a work environment free from sexual harassment. Cognitus has zero tolerance towards conduct creating an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment for woman employees. The Sexual Harassment Policy has been formed under the provisions of The Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, to prohibit, prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment at workplace and to provide the procedure for the Redressal of complaints pertaining to sexual harassment.
  • 2. Scope2.1 This policy is applicable to employees, workers, volunteers, probationer and trainees including those on deputation, part time, contract, working as consultants or otherwise (whether in the office premises or outside while on assignment). This policy shall be considered to be a part of the employment contract or terms of engagement of the persons in the above categories.2.2 Where the alleged incident occurs to our employee by a third party while on a duty outside our premises, the Company shall perform all reasonable and necessary steps to support our employee.
  • 3.1 Sexual Harassment means such unwelcome sexually determined behavior (directly or through implication), like physical contact and advances by the employee(s) including:
    • A. A demand or request for sexual favors, sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, any other unwelcome physical conduct of sexual nature, , lurid stares, physical contact or molestation, stalking, sounds, display of pictures, signs,;
    • B. Eve teasing, innuendos and taunts, physical confinement against one’s will;
    • C. A demand or request for sexual favors, whether verbally or non-verbally, where the submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or promotion/evaluation of work thereby denying an individual equal opportunity at employment;
    • D. An act or conduct by a person in authority which makes the environment at workplace hostile or intimidating to a person or unreasonably interferes with the individual’s privacy and productivity at work;
    • E. Verbal harassment of a sexual nature, such as lewd comments, sexual jokes or references, and offensive personal references; demeaning, insulting, intimidating, or sexually suggestive comments (oral or written) about an individual’s personal appearance or electronically transmitted messages (Jokes, remarks, letters, phone calls);
    • F. Any other behavior which an individual perceives as having sexual overtones.
    • G. The following circumstances, among other circumstances, if it occurs or is present in relation to or connected with any act or behavior of Sexual Harassment may amount to Sexual Harassment:
      • Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment
      • Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment
      • Implied or explicit threat about the present or future employment of the person
      • Interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for the person
      • Humiliating treatment affecting any person’s health or safety
      • Sexually harassing or offensive conduct in the workplace, by or against the associates, whether committed by supervisor, manager, peers or any other third party is strictly prohibited and unwarranted.
  • 4. Redressal system
    • 4.1 In accordance of the guidelines of Sexual Harassment of Woman at Workplace Act 2013, Cognitus, by order in writing, has constituted a committee known as Prevention of Sexual Harassment Committee (“POSH Committee”) to consider and redress the complaints of sexual harassment. POSH Committee shall consist of at least four members to be nominated by Cognitus, comprising of Presiding Officer who shall be a woman employed at a senior level, two or more employees, preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge, one member from Non – Governmental organizations or association committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with issues relating to sexual harassment. At least 50% of total members of POSH Committee shall be women.
      The details of POSH Committee are provided in the Appendix to this policy.
    • 4.2 A complaint with respect to sexual harassment may be made by a written application addressed to [the Internal Committee, through the Presiding / or to any member of the Internal Committee].
      The Internal Committee may administer a declaration form to verify that the contents of the complaint are true and genuine, before it proceeds further with the complaint. Where necessary (for example, when the complaint is incomplete), the complainant may be contacted to provide further details in relation to the complaint to enable the Internal Committee to appreciate the situation more comprehensively. The complaint must be given to the persons specified above within 3 months of the occurrence (the complaint can be made post 3 months of the incidence if the person is able to prove that there were some exceptional circumstances due to which complaint could not be made earlier) and we advise you to be vigilant and keep any document with you which can be used to substantiate an allegation. The Redressal system will work based on other evidence if you cannot produce any documentary evidence. If the complainant cannot make a written complaint because of physical or mental incapacity or death, the legal heirs can make the complaint on her behalf.
    • 4.3 Redressal Mechanism:Once the complaint is received by the Committee:
      • i. The person (Respondent) who is accused by the complainant will be informed that a complaint has been filed against him (he will be made aware of the details of the allegation and also the name of the complainant as it would be necessary for proper inquiry)
      • ii. The complainant has the opportunity to ask for conciliation proceedings by having communication with the accused in the presence of the Committee. Please note that in such conciliation the complainant cannot demand monetary compensation.
      • iii. Opportunity may be provided to the complainant and the respondent for cross examination if the committee finds it appropriate.
      • iv The Committee shall provide the copies of the settlement as recorded during conciliation to the aggrieved employee and the respondent. If the matter has been settled by conciliation but the respondent is not complying with the terms and conditions, the aggrieved party can approach the Committee for Redressal.
      • v. The Committee will question both the complainant and the alleged accused separately. If required, the person who has been named as a witness will need to provide the necessary information to assist in resolving the matter satisfactorily.
      • vi. The Committee shall call upon all witnesses mentioned by both the parties.
      • vii. The Committee can ask for specific documents from a person if it feels that they are important for the purpose of investigation.
      • viii. The complainant has the option to seek transfer or leave so that the inquiry process can continue smoothly and to prevent recurrence of similar situations or discomfort to the complainant. The complainant may be required to work from home, if it is practicable, keeping in mind the nature of work of the complainant, health and mental condition. However, the complainant is under a good faith obligation and shall not abuse the process to request unjustifiably long periods of leave. The Committee shall have the discretion to grant leave of an appropriate duration, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, or grant an alternate measure such as transferring the employee or the accused, as it deems fit.
      • xi. The complainant and the respondent shall be informed of the outcome of the investigation. The investigation shall be completed within 3 months of the receipt of the complaint. If the investigation reveals that the complainant has been sexually harassed as claimed, the accused will be subjected to disciplinary action accordingly.
        • A. the Internal Committee shall submit the findings and recommendation to Cognitus, the respondent and the complainant within 10 days of completion of the inquiry. The same shall also be recorded and filed in Quarterly and Annual reports
        • B. Cognitus will act on the recommendations of the Committee within 60 days of the receipt of the report.
      • x. The contents of the complaint made, the identity and addresses of the aggrieved employee, respondent and witnesses, any information relating to conciliation and inquiry proceedings, recommendations of the Internal Committee and the action taken by the employer shall be confidential.
      • C. Any party aggrieved by the report can prefer an appeal in the appropriate Court or Tribunal in accordance with the service rules within 90 days of the recommendation been given.
    • 5. Disciplinary Action:
      • 5.1 Where any misconduct is found by the Committee, appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken against the accused. Disciplinary action may include transfer, withholding promotion, suspension or even dismissal. This action shall be in addition to any legal recourse sought by the complainant. If it is found out through evidence by the Committee that the complainant has maliciously given false complaint against the accused, disciplinary action shall be taken against the complainant as well. Regardless of the outcome of the complaint made in good faith, the employee lodging the complaint and any person providing information or any witness, will be protected from any form of retaliation. While dealing with complaints of sexual harassment, the Committee shall ensure that the complainant or the witness are not victimized or discriminated against by the accused. Any unwarranted pressures, retaliatory or any other type of unethical behavior by the accused against the complainant while the investigation is in progress should be reported by the complainant to the Complaints Committee as soon as possible. Disciplinary action will be taken by the Committee against any such complaints which are found genuine.
      • 5.2 This policy shall be disseminated to each employee of the company as well as new recruits who will have to acknowledge that they have read and understood the policy and that they shall abide by the policy. Cognitus is committed to creating a healthy working environment that enables employees to work without fear of sexual harassment. In accordance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 (“Act”), we Pledge to
        • provide a safe working environment at the workplace which shall include safety from the persons coming into contact at the work-place;
        • display at any conspicuous place in the workplace, the penal consequences of sexual harassments; and the order constituting, the Internal Committee under subsection (I) of section 4;
        • organize workshops and awareness programs at regular intervals for sensitizing the employees with the provisions of the Act and orientation programs for the members of the Internal Committee in the manner as may be prescribed;
        • provide necessary facilities to the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, for dealing with the complaint and conducting an inquiry;
        • assist in securing the attendance of respondent and witnesses before the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be;
        • make available such information to the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, as it may require having regard to the complaint made under sub-section (1) of section 9;
        • provide assistance to the woman if she so chooses to file a complaint in relation to the offence under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force;
        • cause to initiate action, under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force, against the perpetrator, or if the aggrieved woman so desires, where the perpetrator is not an employee, in the workplace at which the incident of sexual harassment took place;
        • treat sexual harassment as a misconduct under the service rules and initiate action for such misconduct;
        • Monitor the timely submission of reports by the Internal Committee.

Modern Slavery And Human Trafficking Statement

Modern slavery is a heinous crime and a morally reprehensible act that deprives a person’s liberty and dignity for another person’s gain. It is a real problem for millions of people around the world, including many in developed countries, who are being kept and exploited in various forms of slavery. Every company is at risk of being involved in this crime through its own operations and its supply chain.

At Cognitus, we have a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and are fully committed to preventing slavery and human trafficking in our operation and supply chain. We have taken concrete steps to tackle modern slavery, as outlined in our statement. This statement sets out the actions that we have taken to understand all potential modern slavery risks related to our business, and to implement steps to prevent slavery and human trafficking during the financial year 2020-2021.

Our business and supply chains
Cognitus is an SAP Gold partner that builds, services, and sells SAP solutions. We provide SAP implementation services and software licenses through our global network of offices across North America, Asia, LATAM, and Europe. We strive to deliver the highest quality sustainable products, services, and solutions to transform businesses into an intelligent & innovative enterprise.

We establish a relationship of trust and integrity with all our suppliers, which is built upon mutually beneficial factors. Our supplier selection and on-boarding procedure includes due diligence of the supplier’s reputation, respect for the law, compliance with health, safety and environmental standards, and references.

[We haven’t been made aware of any allegations of human trafficking/slavery activities against any of our suppliers, but if we were, then we would act immediately against the supplier and report it to the authorities.]

Risk assessment In the past year, we conducted a risk assessment of our supply chain by taking into account:

  • The risk profile of individual countries based on the Global Slavery Index
  • The business services rendered by the suppliers
  • The presence of vulnerable demographic groups
  • A news analysis and the insights of labor and human rights groups

This assessment determined our response and the risk controls that we are implementing.

Cognitus operates the following policies for identifying and preventing slavery and human trafficking in our operations:

  • Whistleblowing Policy – we encourage all employees, customers and suppliers to report any suspicion of slavery or human trafficking without fear of retaliation. We provide a confidential helpline to protect the identity of whistle-blowers.
  • Code of Conduct – our code encourages employees to do the right thing by clearly stating the actions and behavior expected of them when representing the business. We strive to maintain the highest standards of employee conduct and ethical behavior when operating abroad and managing our supply chain.
  • Purchasing Code – we have updated our Purchasing Code and supplier contracts to make explicit reference to slavery and human trafficking.

Supplier due diligence
Cognitus conducts due diligence on all new suppliers during on-boarding and on existing sups at regular intervals. This includes:

  • Assessing risks in the provision of particular services
  • Auditing the suppliers, and their health and safety standards, labor relations and employee contracts
  • Requiring improvements to substandard employment practices
  • Sanctioning suppliers that fail to improve their performance in line with our requirements We require all suppliers to attest that:
  • They don’t use any form of forced, compulsory or slave labor
  • Their employees work voluntarily and are entitled to leave work
  • They provide each employee with an employment contract that contains a reasonable notice period for terminating their employment
  • They don’t require employees to post a deposit/bond and don’t withhold their salaries for any reasons
  • They don’t require employees to surrender their passports or work permits as a condition of employment

Cognitus has raised awareness of modern slavery issues by putting up posters across our facilities and sending an email that is focused specifically on modern slavery to all our staff, which explains:

  • Our commitment in the fight against modern slavery
  • Red flags for potential cases of slavery or human trafficking
  • How employees should report suspicions of modern slavery

In addition to the awareness program, Cognitus has rolled out a fresh e-learning course to all employees and supplier contacts, which covers:

  • Various forms of modern slavery in which people can be held and exploited
  • The size of the problem and the risk to our organization
  • How employees can identify the signs of slavery and human trafficking, including unrealistically low prices
  • How employees should respond if they suspect slavery or human trafficking
  • How suppliers can escalate potential slavery or human trafficking issues to the relevant people within their own organization
  • What external help is available for the victims of slavery?
  • What terms and guidance should be provided to suppliers in relation to slavery policies and controls?
  • What steps Cognitus will take if a supplier fails to implement anti-slavery policies or controls
  • An attestation from employees that they will abide by Cognitus anti-slavery policy

Measuring how we’re performing
Cognitus has defined a set of key performance indicators and controls to combat modern slavery and human trafficking in our organization and supply chain. These include:

  • How many employees have completed mandatory training?
  • How many suppliers have filled out our ethics questionnaire?
  • How many suppliers have rolled out an awareness and training program that is equivalent to ours?
  • How many reports have been made by our employees that indicate their awareness of and sensitivity to ethical issues?
  • What are the findings of our cross-functional Human Rights team, which reviews how we are addressing modern slavery and human trafficking?

This statement covers 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 and has been approved by the CEO of Cognitus
Consulting LLC at the board meeting on 12/12/2020.

Rob van der Zande
Founding Partner
Cognitus LLC

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