Question: large number of women employees was losing sales due to various factors. The company hired a reputed marketing executive, who increased the volume of sales within a short span of time. However, some unconfirmed reports came up regarding his indulgence in sexual harassment at the workplace.
After sometime a woman employee launched a formal complaint to the management against the marketing executive about sexually harassing her. Faced with the companies’ indifference, in not taking cognizance of her grievances, she lodged an FIR with the police.
Realizing the sensitivity and gravity of the situation, the company called the woman employee to negotiate. In that she was offered a hefty sum of money to withdraw the complaint and the FIR and also give in writing that the marketing executive is not involved in the case.
Identify the ethical issues involved in this case. What options are available to the woman employee?
Answer: Sexual harassment is one of the serious issue plaguing our society especially working women. The issue needs serious attention so as to make gender equality a major part of our work culture. Considering the gravity of the situation, strong steps are needed to be taken.
Ethical issues involved
The issue is not only about the allegations its about the idea called equality and beliefs. By accepting the offer, you not only betray your inner self respect but also the cause you stood up for. It will violate all the values that built your character.
Organisational integrity is one of the basis requirement of an employee but if its comes at the cost of crime then its needs violation. The whistleblowing can spoil the image of the company and can create losses. But the bigger issue needs to be highlighted.
- Human rights
Every person has a right to work in a safe working environment without being harassed or discriminated. By taking back the FIR you will be making other colleagues vulnerable to the sexual predator.
Measures that can be taken
- Considering importance of the company, an internal enquiry can be initiated and if the person is found to be guilty then action can be taken according to the rules and regulations of the company.
- If the company is bent upon having the person aboard then you need to take strong actions from preventing his continuation in the company.
- If the company is not interested in supporting your cause and are pressurising you to withdraw then you will have to take help from sources other than law such as women’s commission or media.
- But the main thing that needs to be noted is that accepting the money to keep mum is absolutely unethical and can be considered a grave offence.
- If such an individual continues in the company then other women will be vulnerable too. So your steps will have implications on future of all other women employees.
- If there is lack of proof for proving the charges then methods like Sting can be used to bring the real face of the culprit in front of the society. But the company is likely to suffer in all these issue.
Thus, Sexual harassment is a problem that needs to be punished and any compromise in this issue cannot be accepted. The organisation must provide its help to ensure justice is delivered to the victim.