Chennai, Dec 9 (): HR (human resource) professionals who act on a complaint of sexual harassment by a woman colleague against the boss, often lose their jobs and remain unemployed as the word spreads around to other firms.
One such case was of AS Rajarajan, employed as a HR manager with a US-based multi-national company in the city earning Rs. 19 lakh a year, till a woman employee filed a sexual harassment complaint against the firm’s director. The director resigned after an in-house probe found him guilty.
Till then it was okay, but Rajarajan wanted to report the matter to the police as per the mandate by the Vishaka Committee guidelines on sexual harassment complaints at the workplace.
Rajarajan said he was demoted three times, and when he went to court, he was sacked. The management puts pressure and offered incentives to hush up the matter because it was a senior member of the management who was involved. But he did not accept.
HR managers are empowered to take action but there is no protection. Job-wise he is proud of doing what the law wants of an HR manager to do even though he is paying a heavy price.
The US firm’s parent company was supportive of him but when the Indian arm decided to sack him, it looked the other way. After this, no company wants to hire and he spends his time doing aero-modelling.
The US firm evaded queries by a channel citing that the matter is before the court. The parent company too did not respond to queries. HR manager who challenged his demotion is now seeking compensation for the sacking.
Such instances would make HR managers think twice on taking action on company’s top bosses who in turn indulge in sexual harassment with impunity. Vishaka guidelines give protection to the victim and the witness but is silent on the HR managers who are to implement them.
HR managers try as much as sweeping the complaint under the carpet by offerings, increments or promotions to the victim and in turn get a pat from the boss.