Mumbai Crime: Woman executive levels sexual harassment charges against company VP

Updated: May 13, 2018, 08:33 IST | Hajra Bi | Mumbai

Alleging that company did not act against VP, human resources, woman quits firm and lodges police complaint

Niramay Satpute
Niramay Satpute

A 33-year-old former senior manager of a multinational stationery company has accused its human resources department's vice-president of sexual harassment. The woman, who ran from pillar to post trying to get senior company officials to give her a hearing, in vain, finally approached the police.

She has lodged a complaint against the accused under IPC section 354D and relevant IT Act sections with the Borivli police, who have transferred the case to the Vanrai police. Senior inspector Jyotsna Rasam said they are investigating the matter thoroughly.

Narrating her ordeal, the victim said she had first interviewed for the position of senior manager at WorkStore Ltd in November 2016, and accused Niramay Satpute had taken the interview. She was not hired immediately, her CV kept for future vacancies. But Satpute allegedly initiated a WhatsApp conversation, which mid-day has accessed, with her in February 2017.

The victim said she didn't immediately realise what his intentions were, but when the chats started taking an unpleasant turn, she warned him to stop. When he didn't, she stopped responding to his messages in June 2017.

Representational Image
Representational Image

Hostile work environment
In December 2017, she got a call from the company for another interview. This time, the CFO and CEO interviewed her and hired her. She was given a team of four and asked to report to the CFO. Within three weeks, she said, she witnessed employees' "carelessness" towards their work with data showing many "malpractices". When she brought it to the CFO's notice, she was allegedly warned not to get into such details.

The victim said that when she approached Satpute to report the matter, he refused to listen to her and called her the problem, which, she alleged, was a result of his grudge against her. With no option left, she contacted the CEO, at least five times. The company then asked her to submit all the evidence against Satpute - the sexual harassment in WhatsApp chats and his refusal to heed her warnings to stop - in a sealed envelope and send the same to the HR department of Future Group, under which the company comes.

She added that by then, her work environment had worsened, and "unable to take it", she resigned on April 14. But when she informed that she would serve 15 days' notice, she was asked to leave immediately, on April 18, on grounds of non-performance. Upset over the added humiliation, she went to the police on April 20.

Threat tactics
The victim alleged that on April 21 she was called by the company to complete her exit formalities and meet HR officials of Future Group, but instead, she was grilled by two advocates over the police complaint she had lodged against the accused. She added she is being threatened by the company, which has caused her mental agony.
She is planning to sue Future Group, and CFO, CEO and HR department of WorkStore.

A spokesperson for WorkStore said, "The group has initiated an inquiry and appointed an external person for investigating the matter and submit a report. Action will be taken accordingly."

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