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Companies see rise in sexual harassment plaints

Source | The Times Of India : By Namrata Singh 

Sexual harassment complaints in BSE top 100 cos up by 12% MUMBAI: There has been an Sexual harassment complaints in BSE top 100 cos up by 12%+ in the number of sexual harassment complaints reported by the BSE’s top 100 listed companies in 2016-17.

While some companies reported fewer cases, others like WiproICICI BankInfosys and Tata Consultancy Services reported more than 50 cases during the year.

Experts believe there is no reason to be alarmed by higher numbers as this only indicates better transparency and robustness of a company’s internal mechanism to handle such cases.

Earlier, such cases were either swept under the carpet or dealt with in an opaque manner. They were never reported publicly. More companies reporting such numbers indicates growing awareness and compliance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Wipro reported 116 cases during the year (111 in the previous year), of which, 102 were disposed of with appropriate actions taken within the statutory timelines.

At ICICI Bank, all the 95 cases that were reported in 2016-17 were disposed of during the year. Similarly, at Infosys, out of 88 cases, 72 cases were disposed of by disciplinary action, while five by conciliation. Vishal Kedia, founder & director, Complykaro Services, which collated the numbers for TOI, said, “It is difficult to judge a company’s value by such statistics in isolation. Companies that have a larger number of complaints should not be viewed negatively as they have created a robust system for redressal.”

At the same time, Kedia said not having any complaint necessarily does not mean that everything is in order. It could mean employees are hesitant to complain or there is no adequate awareness about the internal redressal mechanism or employees are not sensitised about what constitutes sexual harassment.

T K Srirang, HR head, ICICI Bank, said, “Today, greater awareness is encouraging corporations to report all such cases. Sometimes the numbers may appear to be relatively high compared to industry peers, but that only means that the corporation has instituted a strong culture where people are free to report all cases, no matter how minor they may appear to be.”

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