Location: Kanpur, Gurgaon
When Seema got the job the to be a sales supervisor for a beauty products company, she was overjoyed. The job suited her very well, and despite the competition for the position she finally got it. So she made it a point to do her best. Her job was simple enough, she was the company representative for a region and had to ensure that the shop keepers sold her beauty products. And as her luck would have it, it was right where she stayed too. Seema decided to work hard.
As days turned to months and then years, Seema rose in her department. She went out of her way to work; hence, her region was where most sales happened. Seema’s commitment to her job was so good that she eventually built a rapport with the local shop employees and was then even more efficient at her job.
Seema’s career was on an incline. But this was when the disaster struck.
The head of her department was notorious throughout the office. At least, if not among men, then among women. They knew enough to avoid the man whenever possible. To not be the latest prey to his desires. The man was known for his beyond questionable and immoral criteria for promotions, especially for female employees, and the denial of his “criterion” usually ended in the woman losing her job.
Soon Seema was the next in line for a promotion and she chose to be optimistic about her boss. She hoped her stellar career would dissuade him from making his advances but it was not meant to be. He had set his sight on her and was determined to make her bow to his will.
The next few months were hell for Seema. The constant advances were demoralizing to her but still, she decided to hold firm. The man was persistent but instead of letting it affect her work, she still decided to do her best in the job. Perhaps if she ignored it enough he will drop it. She may not be promoted now but she would be someday and then she would wait it out.
It all fell in one swoop. One day Seema was amongst the best performers but the next, she was amongst the worst. The man decided to display his power over her and by branding her a chronic underperformer, he cost her the job.
Life teaches some strange lessons, and this lesson for Seema was a strong one, the body she carried had to be shared to earn the promotion she wanted.
It was now that Seema decided to appeal her case. First to her company and then by other means. She tried to bring his misdeeds to light but failed. The company ignored her request and eventually the company did get into slow motion and by the time started an inquiry she was already not an employee and had been exited. Nevertheless, she was still not given justice and the inquiry set the boss free.
Seema looked for other jobs. Tried to go back to her day-to-day life but it was proving to be difficult. She found it extremely difficult to go back to the shops even for personal shopping as even their good-natured inquiries were bitter reminders of her failure. Everyone who knew Seema knew that the grounds for her dismissal were false.
As if luck was now favouring Seema after 2 years, the man’s misdeeds started piling up. His misdeeds caught the attention of the higher authorities. Soon there was another inquiry. This time HRhelpdesk Trust was called in, right from the beginning, the department’s errors in paperwork and the alarming turnover rate, especially of the female employee population, triggered a huge suspicion.
The testimonies from the mostly female employees who lost their jobs as well as Neha’s unresolved complaints brought to light the man’s true lecherous nature. Seema was one among the long line of his victims. Using a special clause in Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Redressal and Prohibition) Act, an internal inquiry was initiated. The boss tried right from saying that there is no jurisdiction to getting a team of lawyers, eventually, the expertise of our investigation lead to proofs which could not be denied and Seema was proved to be true. Soon after he was dismissed from the company, and Seema given her dues which he had with-held. She finally got justice as she showed this final verdict to her family with teary eyes.
However, the same cannot be said about most cases of sexual harassment in the world. Neha’s case is among the rare cases of sexual harassment in the workplace that wins in their quest for justice.
Every woman who stood up against the issue made the brave choice to risk her career to save herself and many of her peers. Most find themselves with a permanent black mark on their career.
However, the solution to preventing the issue would be speaking up. Speaking up and having tough conversations with others is a viable solution to put an end to the problem through prevention of it, but we have to come together and make a collective effort in order to do so.
While we at HRhelpdesk Trust try to solve the issue by spreading awareness and by assisting in the investigation for sexual harassment cases, you can help us by letting us know what we and the world could do to ensure that sexual harassment is no longer an issue.