POSH Alert | April 2019 : Flurry of instances of sexual harassment both in India and at a global level

In the last month, the media has reported a flurry of instances of sexual harassment both in India and at a global level. We have seen scores of articles in various media from a cross-section of industries ranging from start-ups to garment industry to large multinationals, schools, universities and colleges, from the US Navy to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. Once a woman activist jokingly said to a judge, “sexual harassment is like God, it is everywhere”.

Recent reports from Microsoft are rather alarming. In a far-reaching email chain within Microsoft, a staggering number of women have shared stories of sexual harassment and discrimination, which has come to the notice of the company’s senior leadership team. A group of students from Madras Christian College have raised their voice against an alleged act of harassment by a senior faculty. The IC of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has found a senior professor guilty of sexually harassing a former student. Google, All India Radio, Gujarat University, HSBC, HDFC Bank, the list is endless.

India is currently shaken by a shocking claim made by a dismissed junior court assistant of the Supreme Court by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi. It has come as a jolt to the nation as it was the Supreme Court (by way of providing Vishaka Guidelines) that took the first giant step towards prevention and redressal of sexual harassment of women at workplace. Only upon completion of the inquiry on this case against the Chief Justice, the veracity of the complaint can be ascertained. This goes on to show that no one is above the law of the land and the procedures to be followed cannot be against the Principles of Natural Justice.

Why is this happening? Is this the after effect of #metoo? Are employees emboldened to now speak up? If so, what are you doing as an organisation to handle this? The answer may lie in you constantly engaging with your employees to understand their pulse…

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