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Friday, 10 January 2014

SEXUAL HARASSMENT CHARGES AT WORKPLACE-PRECAUTIONS NEEDED BEFORE YOU BEEN TRAPPED

Number of sexual harassment cases are in the air.Many condemns,opinions and suggestions were circulated across the country. Millions of Men are confused about there friendly behavior towards their female colleagues at their offices as these comes under Sexual harassment?
Many CEO'S , MD's or Top notched positions of an organization are worried to know about the behaviors of their employee and to stop any such adversity within the organization.
What women has to say on this sexual harassment act and Zero tolerance at the work place.What Men are doing to protect themselves from false charges.Go through the below articles and find out Many......

Male pilots put flyers at risk to avoid sexual harassment charges

Harinder Baweja , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 08, 2014
First Published: 00:46 IST(8/1/2014) | Last Updated: 07:54 IST(8/1/2014)
The fear of being accused of sexual harassment  is driving male pilots to violate a standard operating procedure (SOP), potentially putting lives in peril.
According to the SOP governing flight safety, the pilot or the co-pilot can leave the cockpit only after a member of cabin crew has been called into the flight deck. This is to ensure that if the person flying the plane suddenly falls sick, there is someone to tend to him or her and get the other pilot back urgently.
But, it turns out, many male pilots across domestic airlines have decided to keep air hostesses out of the cockpit, terrified the women will slap charges of groping or other forms of harassment on them.
"As a departure from the SOP, most of us in SpiceJet as well as in other domestic carriers have adopted a practice wherein we don't really allow the female members of the crew to enter the flight deck," a senior pilot told HT.
"The only reason being that should one of them turn around tomorrow and level seriously damaging allegations of groping, we pilots would have a lot of answering to do and may even lose our jobs even if the allegations are unsubstantiated," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Several other pilots said that recent high-profile cases involving a retired judge, Justice AK Ganguly, and journalist Tarun Tejpal, have forced them to look at measures that "protect us, even though they come at the cost of flight safety."
Airlines contacted were quick to deny that any such contravention of SOP was occurring.
A SpiceJet spokesperson said: "As a procedure, the crew does go in when required. No one is afraid nor has there been any case of anything unusual happening. The idea of fear of female cabin crew is preposterous given that we have plenty of female pilots as well."
"There have never been any instances of pilots sharing any fears of asking female crew members to come inside the cockpit when one of the pilots has stepped out. Safety is paramount for IndiGo and there can be absolutely no compromise on safety," said an IndiGo spokesperson. Air India and Jet Airways did not respond.
But one pilot spoke of the need to air his fears:  "I do admit and fully understand that not allowing female colleagues in have consequences from a flight safety issue, but I do deem it important enough to let our fears be known to the public at large.''
Another pilot HT spoke to said, "The new law is playing on our psyche.'' Asked if they were not scared about air hostesses complaining about the SOP being violated, he said, "We pilots are constantly discussing this issue and now believe that it is better that the air hostess complain about not being allowed entry into the cockpit than them complaining about being groped." Another pilot said they only allow cabin crew colleagues they know well and trust but are now guarded about following the SOP as a routine.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/male-pilots-put-flyers-at-risk-to-avoid-sexual-harassment-charges/article1-1170450.aspx

Sexual harassment cases at workplace leave male employees feeling confused, fearful

Kala Vijayaraghavan, Rica Bhattacharyya & Deepali Gupta, ET Bureau Nov 28, 2013, 04.35AM IST

MUMBAI: This week, the human resources head of a top-notch consumer goods company recently spoke to the vice-president (marketing), gently advising him to tone down his habit of putting his arms around junior women colleagues. "He is this over-effusive, friendly person prone to physical display of affection to both male and female team-mates," the HR head told ET on condition of anonymity. "But with growing incidents of sexual harassment cases at workplaces, we wanted the person to correct his behaviour for his own sake. A friendly hug could also go against him."

Recent developments - a new act to prevent sexual harassment of women at the workplace and separate cases involving a chief executive officer, a Supreme Court judge and a prominent magazine editor - are finally forcing India Inc to adopt a 'zero tolerance' posture on sexual harassment.
But, at the same time, the heightened sensitivity and rigorous new codes of conduct are leaving male executives confused, awkward and perhaps even a little fearful over what is appropriate in their work-related engagement with women and what is not.
Unexpected Repercussions
"Some CEOs have told me their male managers are refusing certain postings where there are women-intensive roles," says Saundarya Rajesh, founder and head of Avtar Career Creators, a talent strategy consulting firm. "Men are now afraid their natural behaviours may be seen through a different lens and land them in trouble."
Adds a Mumbai-based senior manager at a consumer company: "My boss and my wife have asked me to watch my words and actions while dealing with female colleagues."
Such fears — both well founded and otherwise — are also causing other unexpected repercussions. "I don't have evidence, but I fear hiring of women may slow down as an immediate effect," says Zia Mody, managing partner, AZB Partners.
Many companies are swinging into action. At one level, they are tightening workplace codes to protect women. "Over the last week, an increasing number of corporates have asked us to look at their manuals, conduct trainings, check compliance with Vishaka guidelines (the name by which the new act is commonly referred to)," says Mody.
At another level, companies are also sensitising male employees and addressing their concerns and fears. About a dozen top officials and consultants ET spoke to said HR heads and company leaders are working overtime, gently correcting borderline behaviour and also addressing fears male managers have of committing a faux paus or being unfairly maligned by women colleagues.
RPG Group has kicked off etiquette workshops for men on how to behave in the workplace or even on social media to safeguard themselves. The group also conducts powerful story-telling sessions around such incidents to help leaders get a sense of what is right and what is wrong and help them pick up the essence of how to correct their behaviour. Vodafone India took some senior and mid-level managers for a similar workshop. The company is keenly stepping up gender diversity.
Men are being advised to avoid involuntarily sizing up women, putting up offensive or seemingly sexual screen-savers on computers and laptops. A general manager at a leading financial services company had the 'gentlemanly habit' of making loud offers of dropping his junior women colleagues home if they happened to work late. "It was a harmless and helpful attitude. But we requested him to offer office cars," the HR chief of the company told ET, also on condition of anonymity. "It is better to be safe than sorry. We cannot put our organisation's reputation at risk."
Men need to be educated. "My interaction with several male employees during the course of my training programmes is that three-fourth of them don't even know what kind of behaviour could have sexual connotations or where they have crossed the line," says Priya Warrick, an etiquette trainer and clinical psychologist and president-cum-executive director of Priya Warrick Finishing School.
The etiquette school does gender sensitisation workshops for male employees through role plays and role reversals.


http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-11-28/news/44546892_1_sexual-harassment-hr-head-workplace



What women has to say...

Indian firms take little notice of law against sexual harassment

A string of high-profile complaints has put the spotlight on workplace sexual harassment of women in India. While firms are scrambling to raise awareness, experts say they are failing to implement an anti-harassment law.
Namita Shah (name changed) enjoys her high-flying job as a consultant for a software company. The 29-year-old has flexible working hours, stimulating projects and the opportunity to train abroad. But there's a downside: unwelcome behavior from some male colleagues.
From lewd stares and explicit jokes, suggestive pings on the company's internal messaging service to persistent requests to meet outside work, Shah said she has often faced sexual harassment in the seven years that she's worked in the IT industry in the western city of Pune.
"It's creepy and at times makes me uncomfortable at work," she told DW. "I have to be careful how I conduct myself because some male colleagues easily misconstrue simple gestures like a smile or a friendly comment." She said she was unaware of any anti-harassment measures at her company, which she didn't want to be named.
High-profile cases
Shah's experience is not uncommon. A string of highly-publicized complaints in recent weeks has turned a spotlight on the prevalence of sexual harassment even in what are considered to be progressive workplaces in India.
Last month, the editor of prominent news magazine Tehelka was arrested after a female colleague accused him of sexually assaulting her. It followed allegations by a law school graduate in a blog that she was sexually harassed by a retired judge from India's top court when she was interning with him.
Anti-rape protesters at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, India on January 1, 2013 Many Indians were outraged by the Delhi gang rape that killed a female student
Workplace safety is the latest issue in a wider ongoing discussion in India about the position of women and how they are treated. The debate was triggered by the fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi
almost exactly a year ago, which sparked national outrage and huge protests.
Experts say the intense media coverage of crimes against women ever since has sent companies scrambling to hire gender experts to help them sensitize their workforce and set up measures to prevent sexual harassment.
Identifying harassment
Kalpana Tatavarti, managing partner at Interweave, a Bangalore-based consultancy that works in diversity management and inclusion for the workplace, says her firm has seen a big increase in companies requesting workshops about appropriate behavior at the workplace.
"I'm often amazed at workshops about the low level of awareness both among men and women about what constitutes sexual harassment," Tatavarti said. "In the corporate context, leering, innuendos or off-color jokes are the main issues. But they are still not seen as harassment. So we help employees and managers understand the nuances and realize when someone is crossing a line."
Tatavarti said the focus of the workshops is on "building a culture of openness and respect" in industries which bring together people of widely differing social and economic backgrounds from all over the country.
'Zero-tolerance'
Women at a call center in India (Photo: Suhail Waheed) Ever more women are joining the IT workforce in India
With more and more women joining the Indian workforce - a quarter or more of the estimated three million workers in the IT and BPO services sector are women according to Nasscom, the industry's trade body - some companies say they are actively pushing anti-harassment measures.
"We have a zero-tolerance policy on harassment," Meghala Nair, press spokeswoman for IBM India, said. The global IT player has a diversity manager as well as helplines, counseling and regular workshops and e-learning modules to raise awareness about sexual harassment among its employees.
Vivek Rana, head of consumer and healthcare at The PRactice, a public relations company, said they had a "well-defined" policy in place that includes a gender sensitization program which is mandatory for anyone joining the firm.
A majority of the company's 90 employees are women. "So far, we've had issues like an invasion of private space with a male colleague hovering too close for comfort," Rana said.
He added that the awareness programs were meant to give employees "the confidence and the vocabulary to assert themselves in such situations."
Anti-harassment law
Nair said IBM had also set up a committee that investigates complaints of harassment by employees and takes disciplinary action if needed. That's mandated by a set of 1997 government guidelines to ensure women's right to work in an environment "free of sexual harassment."
India's parliament in New Delhi The Indian parliament passed the anti-harassment bill last April
The guidelines, detailed by an anti-harassment bill passed by the Indian parliament in April, requires all companies and organizations with more than 10 employees to set up an internal complaints committee, with one external member, headed by a woman. The mechanism is meant to encourage women to complain if they face sexual harassment and ensure a fair process.
But the reality is quite different, some say. Anagha Sarpotdar, a consultant on gender issues, said there was "rampant non-compliance" by companies even though they could face penalties and even lose their license if they fail to implement the law.
Companies not committed?
Sarpotdar, who's researching workplace sexual harassment of women at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, said few firms are serious about stamping out the problem.
"Many companies make noises after a high-profile case and set up fantastic-sounding policies. But many only have complaint committees on paper," she said. "Also, they avoid using the term 'sexual harassment' and instead trivialize it by calling it 'inappropriate behavior' or an 'untoward incident' or an 'internal matter."
Worse, many companies actually deter female workers from making a formal complaint about sexual harassment, Sarpotdar said.
Man reaching over to touch the rear end of a woman Women are often blamed for becoming the target of sexual harassment
"Women are often labeled as 'troublemakers' or they're pressured to drop the complaint and quit. There's also a huge fear in companies about the mechanism for complaints being abused," she said. "As a result, few women dare to step forward and speak out."
Women 'stand to lose everything'
So what can be done to make workplaces safe and harassment-free for women?
More awareness is the answer, Kalpana Tatavarti said. "There's a tangible sense of empowerment among women employees during awareness workshops as they become aware of their rights and realize how to say 'no' in unwelcome situations" she said. "And we get feedback from companies about improved communication and mutual respect between male and female employees."
While that can help in tackling the problem, Sarpotdar said there can be no real improvement in workplace safety unless employers "understand the spirit of the anti-harassment law" and implement it stringently.
"Companies have to realize what a huge impact workplace sexual harassment has on women in the Indian context. They risk a lot when they decide to make a formal complaint," Sarpotdar said. "It can completely damage not just their careers, but also their personal life and reputation. They stand to lose everything."
http://www.dw.de/indian-firms-take-little-notice-of-law-against-sexual-harassment/a-17298779

Sexual harassment: India Inc faces a ‘male storm’

Dec 3, 2013, 07.16PM IST
(Sexual harassment: India…)
 
 By Shibu Joseph
A sense of panic gripped Corporate India following exposure of the 'lapse of judgement' by the chief of many an expose in the country a few weeks ago. Managements and HR heads of most companies have gone into a huddle to devise ways to instill a sense of normalcy among their staff who have been flustered by the minute-by-minute ad nauseum coverage of the Tehelka chief's journey from the high moral pedestal to a gaol in Goa.
Their immediate worry has very little to do with their female employees or the loss of innocence at work. 'Light-hearted banter' may have assumed new meanings in corporate corridors, but these are small issues for venerable HR heads to tackle. But none were prepared for the crises that threaten to endanger their men folk. Says the HR head of an FMCG company, "Putting in place an anti-harassment policy, we thought, was all that was required. We were least prepared for the paranoia and its after-effects on our male colleagues."
With every passing minute of breathless coverage of Tejpal Gate on televisions (as if nothing else in the country was worth reporting), several male employees across companies are being rushed to hospitals. Ambulances are on call every minute attending to nervous men complaining of various stages of mental distress. According to unconfirmed reports, Bangalore's reputed mental health hospital Nimhans said that it was unable to accommodate any more patients.
Similar reports are pouring in from its peer hospitals in other parts of the country. A source at Nimhans told this correspondent, "Most of the patients are brought in complaining of 'lift-o-phobia' (fear of being caught with a lady in a lift), guilt laceration, etc. Some patients panic as soon as they spot a lady nurse or a doctor. They all insist on talking to only male doctors and we are short of male doctors here."
Visiting the hospital, this correspondent spotted a senior executive from a major technology firm, sleepwalking outside the men's ward rubbing his hands repeating the words of Lady Macbeth, "Out, damned spot! Out... All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!" When queried what it all meant, a relative confided, "Apparently, he had put his arm around a lady in his office recently. He is scared he would be sued for sexual harassment and meet the fate of Tarun Tejpal. Offices are also witnessing thinner attendance by male staff. Some of them are being dragged to offices by their family members like kids are brought to their kindergartens on the first day. Fearing 'inappropriate' behaviour by them, many men are staying at home or are demanding that they be allowed to work from home. A paranoid employee, it was learnt from a source inside, demanded from the management that separate work bays be built for men and women and that washrooms for men and women be kept on different floors as he did not want to bump into anyone from the opposite sex.
When contacted, a male executive in an MNC who obviously couldn't endure being at a disadvantage, said, "Instead of working on our targets, we are constantly worried about being the targets of 'adamantine' women. I will ensure I will never get within a mile of them. Life was smooth before law started poking its nose."
Several men across cities were reportedly out in bookshops and online stores looking for a certain 'The Tejpal Book of Excuses for the Wayward Men' to learn the right words to explain in case they are caught with 'a lapse of judgement' or 'misreading of situations' or indulging in 'untoward incidents'. Thanks to such efforts, Google is said to be preparing to announce 'lacerate', 'atonement', 'adamantine' and 'mendacious' as the year's most searched words leaving behind the hitherto top words like 'snooping', 'shehzada' and 'feku'.   According to a source in Delhi, several companies in the Capital are organizing 'Harassholics Anonymous' to help some of their licentious staff to fight the addiction. Some men who until recently talked to women colleagues with their hands on their shoulders, are clueless about what to do with their hands now. The ever alert government too has swung into action.
A bird in the finance ministry told this correspondent that this year's Union Budget will announce a series of women ventures like all-women newspapers, all-women hotels, all-women stores in line with all-women banks. And these ventures would come under surveillance and snooping by 'sahebs' emboldened by the fact that snooping victims or their kin do not appear to have a problem with surveillance.
Meanwhile, the senior executive from the tech firm was again seen sleepwalking back to his bed uttering, "To bed, to bed! There's knocking at the gate. Come, come... what's done cannot be undone... To bed, to bed, to bed!
(Disclaimer: This is a spoof on the hotly-debated harassment issue and not based on facts)

 

 


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