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Staying a step ahead
India Inc already has policies and processes -such as complaints committee - to help it comply with the apex court guidelines on sexual harassment. With a specific Act around the corner, such measures will be further strengthened.
Companies like MindTree, Marico and GMR have gone a step further and adopted gender-neutral policies. "Our policy on sexual harassment applies to men and women;to like and opposite gender relationships;to relationships between supervisors and subordinates and relationships among peers. GMR Group employees, customers, vendors, consultants, and anyone else doing business in our premises must comply with this policy, " says a GMR spokesperson.
Marico's code of conduct has evolved over time to reflect the growing awareness on various issues relating to workplace conduct;they have adopted best global corporate practices. "Periodic focus group discussions are held amongst cross sections within the organisation to understand its efficacy, " states Milind Sarwate, group CFO, Marico.
Genpact says it has fair employment practices that guarantee a harassment free workplace. "Complaints on sexual harassment are investigated by internal channels and the findings put forth to a sexual harassment committee that gives its recommendations. Investigation into any concern is launched within two days of its receipt, " states Deepa Kapoor, VP, Genpact.
Tulip Telecom has both formal and informal committees to address harassment issues. "Further, HR representatives at various levels have been assigned for grievance handling and they help to resolve the matters at the very onset, " says Ashu Malhotra, executive VP, HR. Biocon HR head Ravi Dasgupta says that his company plans to hold special training sessions to sensitise employees.
E-learning is emerging as a tool to create better awareness. "New employees, be they campus recruits or lateral hires, are made aware during orientation that there is zerotolerance towards sexual harassment (even towards outsiders like customers and vendors ). From October 1, we will also be introducing a mandatory e-learning course for all employees in India. Every employee on joining has to clear this e-learning course and the access to their systems will be restricted depending on such clearance, " explains, Ravi Shankar, Chief People Office, MindTree.
Some companies prefer to think out of the box. "Women employees have also been trained in self-defence workshops to protect them against any unwanted incidents. We have also partnered with Catalyst to stay focussed on women empowerment at work, " states Manish Choudhary, MD, Pitney Bowes Inc.
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