A recent case of sexual harassment in India where one of leading news agency TEHLKA’s senior officer Tarun Tejpal was involved has started discussion on sexual harassment cases in an organization and its impacts. Surprising there was no official committee set for such cases in this well known organization. However, there is a law in India to form a Sexual Harassment committee in every company.
Sexual Harassment cases in an organization impacts company in many ways.
- Impact on company credibility : It impacts on company credibility. In the era where women are considered equal to their men counterparts, if a company fails to reduce such cases then it will surely impact its credibility. There are many other impacts which are by product of impact on credibility- 1) High attrition- especially in women team members 2) Problems in attracting talent- No one wants to be part of company which has bad name in market and so on.
- Impact on Work Culture : Women start feeling insecure and suddenly work culture of organization takes U turn. It makes more damage when senior officials are party in such cases. All the good things done by organization in building a great work culture is in vain.
- Productivity Loss : Employees waste their time discussing these cases hence loss in productivity. It becomes a topic of discussion during tea break or lunch time. It impacts employees moral.
- Punishment as per Law : As mentioned earlier there is law on Sexual Harassment in India and many other countries. If organization does not follow such law then organization has to face consequences.
From above it is very clear that company may face financial loss and there will be break on its growth. I feel, HR has to play an important role in guarding company from all above negative impacts. Question is How? I would suggest some ways as follows:
- Have a sexual harassment policy and committee in place : Precaution is better than cure. HR should ensure that sexual harassment policy and committee to handle such cases is formed.Download sample of Sexual Harassment policy in company.
- Educate employees about Sexual Harassment policy and committee : Educate all employees about such policy and committee. Make this policy available on intranet. Keep sending such information to employees in defined time frame again and again.
- Educate them about consequences of violation of Sexual Harassment policy : Educate both male and female employees of your company about what is sexual harassment and consequences if someone violates the policy? I would suggest to conduct separate training programs for both male and female. Although while conducting such programs for my male team members, I felt that some time it goes in lighter mode but trainer has to ensure that participants should get the message clearly at end of program.
- Pay immediate attention if such case comes in knowledge of HR : HR should pay immediate attention if any case of sexual harassment is reported as per policy. Some time we also come to know about incidence which are not sexual harassment but if not dealt carefully can become potential sexual harassment case in future, in such cases, we need to take proactive steps to ensure it does not become sexual harassment case.
- Ensure fair and fast trial if a case is reported.
If you want to share your experience of any sexual harassment case, please feel free and share with us.
At end, I would like to give a situation to my readers and expecting their comments.
What will you do, if a wife files a sexual harassment case against her husband who is working in same company and you are the HR there?