“ SEXUAL HARASSMENT ATINFOSYS” Case Study Discussion By: (Group 6) Monika Bansal Rohit Kumar Jaitley Mohit Arora Praveen Kumar Sulagna Dutta
Brief Description of the Case This is a case about Black mail, sex, stalking, threats by a top manager of Infosys , India’s giant IT firm. The case of Sexual Harassment by a manager (Phaneesh ) to his Female subordinate (Reka Maximovitch) had been filed in United States where the incidence had taken place. The events took place during October 1999 and December 2000 , when Former Secretary Reka Maximovitch alleged that Phaneesh had sexually harassed her and unlawfully terminated her. Phaneesh’s reaction to these are that all the charges against him are false and he was not involved in all the matter. Phaneesh quit the Company in 2002. After quitting by Phaneesh Infosys settled case out of the court where they give $3.9 million to Reka which she had accepted.
Workplace Sexual Harassment In United States of America : Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment . It is a form of Sex Discrimination that occurs in the workplace. Persons who are the victims of sexual harassment may sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq.), which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace. In India : According to The Supreme Court of India definition of sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexually determined behavior, such as:- *Physical contact *A demand or request for sexual favors *Sexually colored remarks *Showing pornography *Any other physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Effects of Sexual Harassment on Professional &Personal Life The issue is of concern for both women and the employers as studies show that sexual harassment touches lives of nearly 40-60% of working women .Sexual Harassment affects all women in some form or the other. In Professional life it affects in some of the following ways: Working women most commonly face the backlash to women taking new roles. Sexual Harassment at work is an extension of violence in everyday life and is discriminatory, exploitative, thriving in atmosphere of threat, terror and reprisal. Lower productivity might be the result of employees that are already burnout, thus this should be considered in the overall workplace health policy
Effects of Sexual Harassment on Professional &Personal Life (cont…) In Personal life it affects in some of the following ways : Depression Anxiety and/or panic attacks. Traumatic stress; post-traumatic stress disorder. Insomnia and/or nightmares. Shame and guilt; self-blame. Difficulty concentrating. Headaches. Fatigue or loss of motivation. Overall loss of trust in people; problems with intimacy . Withdrawal and isolation. Suicidal thoughts or attempts; suicide .
Prevention of Sexual Harassment :Company Responsibilities. First and foremost, acknowledge that it is company’s responsibility to provide safe working environment for women free from sexual harassment and discrimination and that can be held liable for sexual harassment by employees. Other Measurements that can be taken are as follows: Adopting Sexual Harassment Policy. Communicate Policy Enforce Policy Complaints Committee Sexual Harassment Awareness Training . Commitment from the Top Management. Practices Consistent with policies.
Prevention of Sexual Harassment :Employee Responsibilities. Most women themselves fail to recognize sexual harassment and treat it as trivial and routine. Such has been the internal coping mechanism. Ignoring offensive behavior or denying its existence are the most common ways women deal with sexual harassment. Some of the Responsibilities of Employee of the Company. Dealing with the Harasser upfront. Speak up at the time Set your own boundaries Be aware of situations and people who may harm you Tell someone Create a Witness to the behavior. Report sexual harassment to the appropriate person in the organization
Delay in addressed of Sexual Harassment Case byINFOSYS Company’s board did not address the Reka Maximovitch case until June 2002 , while she had filed the sexual harassment and unlawful termination in December 2001. Some of the possible reasons may be . Non disclosure of the case directly to the company by Reka. Failure of disclosure of relationship by Phaneesh to the company management. No formal mechanism to deal with sexual harassment. To protect brand equity. Consumption of senior management’s time. Huge amount of settlement. Disagreement for settlement by Phaneesh.
Settling issue “out-of-court” by INFOSYS Though out-of–court were the norm the most workplace sexual harassment suits the world over, but it was not the best solution. Instead of addressing the problem, victim was paid off and the accused walked away easily. With respect to Infosys, settled this case with Reka “out-of-court” was right the following reasons may be true: *The upcoming ADR offering *Company held itself responsible for Phaneesh conduct. *The charges were serious enough to affect the company negatively if dragged to court. *Infosys settled also because it wanted to retaliate with Phaneesh.
Measures adopted by INFOSYS to overcomeHarassment Narayana Murthy the then Chairman of the Company said to the press that they have taken steps to strengthen out internal processes and balances to handle similar situations. Measures adopted by INFOSYS. Strengthened grievance redressed procedures. Initiated training programs. Broadened dissemination of information. Conducted course on sexual harassment and importance of gender sensitization. Project Housekeeping- Launched internal project to deal with unethical demeanor.
Suggested measures to tide over the crisis. Notification of prohibition of sexual harassment at workplace. Penalize the offender. Ensure pleasant workplace environment to women. Redressal of time bound settlement of complaint. Establish strict policies and guidelines. Measure performance on the basis of corporate ethics. Initiating training programs regaring gender sensitivity.