Bengaluru works hard to stop workplace harassment

Bengaluru: Although workplace should be safe for women employees, the city has seen a rise in the number of cases regarding violence, assault and harassment in workplaces. In light of the recent sexual harassment case filed against an employee of a major IT firm in Electronics City by a female colleague, city dwellers are distressed yet again.

Ms Keerthana, the HR head of StatsMetrika, an IT company offering various services says, “Things like harassment or other crimes against women are usually blamed on the victim herself, on the basis of illogical things like her clothing, the timings of her work and so on. This is not right, only the person who has committed the crime should be blamed."

"I too was harassed", she continues, "people in higher positions tend to abuse their position and treat the juniors unequally, they may even go till the extent of harassment. I was uncomfortable in that environment and could not take it anymore, I complained to our CEO, who looked into the matter immediately and took strict action. For this I am very grateful, because not many companies take matters like these into notice but here we have strict policies where even jokes with such inclinations are not tolerated. That being said, we don't just follow allegations, we investigate into matters and take action.  We follow policies like Workplace Harassment Policy and the Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act of 2013 strictly and try to prevent these cases as much as possible."

Ms Manjula, an auditor for renowned firm Ernst and Young says, "Here we have platforms for all our employees to raise their concerns at, it is a safe environment. We have a separate council to address harassment. As for workplace harassment or violence against women, I think what is necessary is that the victims must speak up. Speaking up is something most women do not do and that is what gives these crimes more leverage. Do not delay speaking up, even if the person harassing you is in a high position."

Director of Synergos, a company providing digital marketing strategically, Mr Vishal says, “In our company, we try to end discrimination. Here women are treated equally. They hold as many leading positions as men and are equally responsible for day to the day workings of the company. We do not hesitate to go the extra mile for women and their concerns, we offer things like work from home for women and do whatever we can to help them. Till now, we haven't come across cases of workplace harassment and hope not to either, but if such situations come up, we will do our best, ask the parties involved to keep away till we investigate and then take action."

Apart from workers and employees of companies, young students too have voiced their concerns about situations regarding workplace harassment, especially crime against women in workplaces. An engineering student of Oxford College of Engineering and an aspiring software engineer, Ms. Nihala Sadeen talks about her expectations from her future workplaces and speaks for the student population. 

“The basic expectation from any healthy workplace is that there must be respect and equality amongst male and female staff, while this is widely claimed by many companies, very few follow up with it. Workplaces need to be professional, no matter how laidback they aim their environment to be. If come up with such situations, women must speak out immediately, but first they should be aware about the things happening to them, hence awareness is of utmost importance. The companies should probe and take action instantly.”

Bengaluru attracts a large number of young and aspiring employees as well as students. Having a safe workplace is a necessity for most workers, especially female staff. While most workplaces adhere strictly to their policies and aim at taking immediate and just action, some may lack at it. This could become a porthole to unfortunate events.

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