#Metoo Movement: Long-drawn inquiry putting off women?

Updated: Oct 14, 2018, 08:07 IST | Jane Borges

HR professionals say most media houses have cell to deal with sexual harassment cases, but complainants are resistant to the idea

#Metoo Movement: Long-drawn inquiry putting off women?

Last week, when Anurag Kashyap claimed that his now, dissolved company, Phantom, had no committee to deal with sexual harassment allegations, and how it had become a sore point, when taking action against Vikas Bahl, the question that came to be asked was whether the "social media trial" of most alleged harassers was an immediate response to lax HR policies in media/production houses.

Most HR executives, however, said that the law has made provision for a special committee to deal with sexual harassment at work place, and that most organisations are compliant with the law.

Bharati Masiwal, an HR consultant, media and entertainment, said that according to the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, any organisation, with a staff of 10 or more, needs to have a working sexual harassment cell in place.

A spokesperson from Times Network, said, "We have a regional and location specific committee, which comprises senior members from the company and also a representative from an NGO. The staff is aware of this cell. We also make it a point to conduct regular training sessions to acquaint our employees with what constitutes sexual harassment and what doesn't."

The HR head of another news media company claimed that the reason most women possibly don't come forward is because, "of the rigorous, long-drawn inquiry," which is initiated after a written complaint. While the cell is supposed to close the arguments within 90 days of the complaint reaching them, the complainant might find the investment emotionally taxing. "Also, despite confidentiality being maintained, they fear information being leaked and companies acting in favour of the complainant, especially if this person is a senior. But, they need to have faith in our system," the HR head said. "Action is taken depending on the severity of the crime. The law has provisions for various quantum of punishments - right from a warning letter, to financial punishments for mild cases and termination of service in case the harassment is severe," the Times Network spokesperson added.

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