I Stood Up Against Sexual Harassment In My Company And Got Fired
Demotivated, appalled and infuriated are only few of the emotions that I had been through during my stint at this famous Swiss company. I have been an HR professional for the last 13 years and I have always believed that HR teams led by the HR HEAD is a custodian of the company’s ethics and values.
My belief was completely shaken while I was working with the Head HR of this company. I had been with the HR department for six months when I realised there was something very wrong with Indian HR. There were certain individuals who were extremely callous and abusive in nature and they would display this behavior openly towards their team members and no one would question them.
As an HR professional and a lady, I thought the HR head would be able to empathize with a harassed and abused employee. Moreover, it is a company’s HR head’s responsibility to ensure that all the issues are sorted out conscientiously. But this lady had a different set of rules and regulations for different employees and later it was appreciated that she had a strong backing from the CEO himself, who also did not care about ethics and code of conduct.
Prior to my joining, a girl had been dismissed from the company. Nothing new there, but then I realized that she had taken this company and the third party vendor through whom she'd got the job, to labor court for unfair termination and won the case. On further investigation, I realized that there was more to the story.Share this quote
The young girl who was an employee in the HR team had reported about sexual harassment against the IT Head to the HR head. However, the HR head traded in with the victim and promised to give her maternity benefits equivalent to an on-rolls employee if the victim stayed quiet.
Since the girl was worried about her career and was pregnant, she agreed. But, once the matter had settled down, she terminated her contract in the 9th month of her pregnancy. Even worse, the lady wasn’t allowed into the premises and stopped by the guards on her last day upon the order of the HR Head and treated inhumanly. She was handed her relieving letter in the reception itself and her belongings are still in some of the drawers in the HR department.
Similarly, an IT Manager also underwent abusive behaviour at the hands of IT Head, Ranapurwala. However, when he reported this to the HR head, she instead of helping him, went and reported the complaint to the IT head and the employee’s probation was not confirmed and he was asked to leave. He even tried approaching the CEO, his skip level manager to report this abusive behaviour and lack of support from HR, however, the CEO refused to listen to his grievance.
A whistleblowing email was sent to the Global Management team stating all these facts and the company started an investigation and narrowed down the whistle-blower to a couple of people (one of them was me) within the company. Though she couldn’t find any irrefutable proof against me, the HR Head’s behaviour became very unpleasant towards me.
Her behaviour bordered on threat and criminal intimidation. Job loss threat and publicly accusing me of deceit became a common vein in her conversation.Share this quote
Finally, the day I was let go from the job, she resorted to my wrongful confinement in a guarded room. When confronted, she said that she has full authority the CEO and Global Management (I have electronic evidence of our final conversation).
All this because I brought to the company’s notice the prevailing sexual harassment and abusive behaviour of certain employees.Share this quote
Is it wrong to stand up for ethics, stand up for wrong happening in society, stand up for what you think is right?
Is it ok to allow people to walk all over you?
I think not.
It happens in every office, in every country right? But what's stopping you from fighting against it? Share this story.