Stop Workplace Harassment in India

6 of 8 people in India go through workplace harassment without knowing they are being harassed. Wanted to share this important piece of advice for wellbeing of employees as well as employers.

To employers- you don’t owe your employees, they just work for money and cause they trust in you.

To employees- Know your rights, be aware. Even if you make mistakes no employer/boss has right to harass you.

Labour inspector from the Labour Department are employed for the well-being of the employee issues and there is no fee as such. Following are some common example of workplace harassment:

  • Dispersion of malevolent and untrue rumours, scandal or innuendo at the workplace. Isolating an individual socially and professionally in the office.
  • Threatening a person or dominating him/her unfairly.
  • Deliberately discouraging one or hindering his/her job.
  • Physical abuse or intimidating someone with abusive languages.
  • Eliminating one from his roles and responsibilities without any reason.
  • Altering instructions and guidelines constantly.
  • Imposing unrealistic deadlines intentionally to make an individual fail.
  • Holding back important information or tenaciously providing wrong information.
  • Cracking offensive jokes verbally or in written, especially in front of or about female colleagues.
  • Sneaking into someone’s personal life, spying or pestering him/her.
  • Causing unnecessary pressure on a particular person by assigning heavy workload when others are free.
  • Making on sit idle without any work which is also a way to create mental pressure on a worker. Often companies take this way to make their employees surrender for voluntary retirement schemes.
  • Screaming or showing vulgarity to an employee.
  • Intentionally and unreasonably criticizing an individual on regular basis.
  • Ridiculing one’s opinions. Unjustifiable punishment for trifles.
  • Holding back deserved leaves, promotions and training.
  • Blocking applications for training, leave or promotion.
  • Meddling with one’s personal belongings behind his/her back.

When any of the above happens to an individual, it indicates that he/she is falling prey to employee harassment. Be it the employer or co-workers, there are legal terms via which the offenders can be punished.

Indian constitution guarantees gender, racial and religious equality as the Fundamental Right’ of the residents of the country in Part III, Articles- 14, 15, 16 which implies for the workplace as well. Hence one faces discrimination by the employer because of his/her race, complexion, gender, caste or origin; he/she can immediately seek legal advice by consulting with a lawyer.  The ‘Directive Principles of State Policies’ of Part IV encompasses the cultural and socio-economic rights of Indian citizens.

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Company size and work cultures

After experiencing lot of people personally as well as professionally in my unplanned travels from Rajasthan to Karnataka and Delhi I thought to share few thoughts on work culture in large, medium and startup companies. After passing out of my college, I joined a medium sized company. I really liked work culture there as it was open, yet disciplined. People were friends, both personally and professionally. It was great learning atmosphere.

My second company was a large scaled IT company with big teams, where communication and status reports are prioritised over work, which is again an effective strategy to get work done on time. It’s like Philosecurity- ‘If You Can’t See It, It Can’t See You’. Good communication skills are essential for growth in large organisations.

Then came a small startup company with less than 30 employees. Interesting people, personal friendliness, open work culture. In developing countries like India, where most of the working people are more worried about money, security and future rather than following their passion and dreams, startups are one for dreamers and entrepreneurs. If you can bring smile to your face and faces of your teammates, its a great feeling to contribute in personal. Also, who wants to come to work every day unless you’re building something alongside people you respect and admire?