Analysis

In order to maintain a smooth and healthy working atmosphere in an organisation, it is imperative to adopt best practices, policies, standards and also adhere to the prevailing laws to control and take decisions in the face of challenging situations in which people fall into a dilemma. A sustained and engraved composition of an organisation to deal with all the operational activities with reward and reprimand, once it has been established that defilement of rules and ethics by any employee is damaging its reputation and requires review for indispensable changes. In the case of ABC Chemicals and Dyes Ltd, everything seemed to be going well until the complaint of sexual harassment was made by Neha Jani against her supervisor Shamsher Singh. She has sought that her role be changed so that she does not have to report to him. In an organisation started by him 42 years ago, such a complaint was the first of its kind for Nimit Patel. Nimit, on the other hand had nursed a great desire to maintain a healthy combination of male and female employees and work like a family, though retention of the female workforce was something of a challenge in this small town organisation.

 

Nimit Patel is apprehensive over taking action against Shamsher Singh, since their association goes way back, while on the other hand, he is equally keen to give due justice to Neha and hopefully retain her services. Secondly, he presumed that if the issue is not resolved internally, it would escalate externally and could make way for criminal proceedings which is sure to tarnish the image of the organisation. Therefore, it is best that Nimit re-constitute the POSH committee in consonance with the Prevention of Sexual Harassment policy established in 2013, and set up an enquiry committee to investigate the entire episode of sexual harassment, and take appropriate action against the culprits. Any compromise on the issue of harassment against women is bound to tarnish the image of the company in an otherwise competitive market, and also make the female fraternity sceptical about the work practices of ABC Chemicals and Dyes.

 

In the said case, firstly, VP-Operations needs to be questioned so that his intent can be gauged for future action. Secondly, there should be a rule that no duty related issue is to be entertained by any female worker beyond her working hours, and, in all cases, she should not be left alone, and a close watch on individuals while on duty and off by way of installing digital cameras in the factory as well as the residential area.

 

Harassment covers a wide range of offensive or unwanted behaviour that makes the other person uncomfortable. Most often, women become the victims of harassment and the offenders are male. 90% organisations opt for informal resolution of complaints even without formal reporting, and, in a majority of cases, the wrongdoer is warned /advised, thus forcing the distressed woman to quit the job. Many organisations dread holding awareness programmes for their employees since they are apprehensive that it may trigger an increase in complaints. A woman complaining of sexual harassment truly makes room for undue and unfavourable attention to herself, and is singled out and left without friends, which can be harrowing experience. The plight of a woman who undergoes such traumatic experience at the workplace, and yet her complaints remains unaddressed are therefore worth introspecting.

 

Organisations have to conduct awareness programmes for females and educate them about their rights and privileges at the workplace. Nimit would therefore have to craft a workplace where safety and dignity of women employees is safeguarded, since the workplace is dwindling with the above instance of sexual harassment, and abide by the directives of Supreme Court of India Guidelines on Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) at the workplace. Nimit has to create and enforce a strong HR manual and ensure strict compliance by everyone, irrespective of their level in hierarchy, and send across a strong message that misconduct in any manner would not be tolerated. ABC Chemicals and Dyes should also formulate a policy to overcome attrition of women employees by examining the root cause of their leaving the company, and thereafter, offer incentives such as higher education perks, agreement with top institutions etc. Nimit Patel should further evaluate, emphasize, evolve the existence of gender gap and formulate a policy and sensitize the environment accordingly.

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