According to a recent survey conducted by Glassdoor, 69 percent of executives rated diversity and inclusion as a critical issue in the corporates in 2017. As a large number of employers have started to realize the significance of treating employees from all the three genders, i.e., males, females and third-gender equally, it is of paramount importance to also make them feel safe at their workplace.
The cases of sexual misconduct are often registered in the corporate world, be it against one’s colleague, senior leader or manager. Surprisingly, these cases are no more limited to just one gender – females. Men, as well as people from the third gender, are also the victims of sexual abuse. In simple words, sexual abuse does not discriminate between different individuals from different genders. Anyone anytime can face it.
The #MeToo movement that was initiated by a social activist Tarana Burke in 2006 is one of its best examples. Having gained recognition in October 2017 when Alyssa Milano, an American actress, tweeted to encourage victims of sexual harassment to come out and speak about it, it was during this campaign that men too came up to share their stories of sexual harassment.
POSH Act Helped Curb Sexual Harassment Of Women At Workplace
According to an official data released by the Government of India, the registered cases of sexual harassment at Indian workplaces increased from 522 in 2015 to 570 in 2017. Understanding the criticality of such acts and their rapid increase, the Government of India has taken several measures from time-to-time to protect women against sexual assault. Among them, one of the most significant ones is POSH Act, launched in 2013. POSH or Prevention Of Sexual Harassment Act 2013, also referred to as the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, was initiated to provide women a safe and secure working environment.
Under the POSH Act 2013, it is a statutory requirement to create an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at every organization. This body is made responsible for receiving sexual harassment complaints from an aggrieved woman, inquire into it and share recommendations with the employer about the necessary steps that can be taken.
Like many other corporates, the POSH Act is applicable at MK as well. As per our policy, the act covers sexual harassment of a woman by her fellow employees, supervisors, managers, contractual employees, customers, clients, vendors, partners and visitors including outsourced employees. Even though we have tried our best to make this act helpful for each of our employees, the law fails to assist the victims of sexual harassment who are either males or belong to the third gender.
Ungender Drive To Strengthen Employees’ Safety At MK
Realizing this fact, we, at MK, launched our internal Ungender drive to fill this gap and safeguard employees from all three genders against sexual harassment. A crucial step to maintain gender diversity at the workplace, the drive aims to provide a safe and bias-free workplace to all its employees, irrespective of their gender. Strengthening this drive is our zero-tolerance policy that does not tolerate indecent behavior, incident or activity by any individual who is a part of MK. It may include everything, from making sexual advances, requesting sexual favors, making lewd remarks to any other acts of sexual nature.
For the convenience of our employees, we have also constituted our internal complaints committee who lends ears to all the concerns raised by the aggrieved employees at MK. To ensure its right implementation, the committee members are focused on training all the MK employees on this policy. This training helps them understand and be aware of different types of harassments at the workplace; the POSH Act and its limitations; and the MK’s culture and stringent zero-tolerance policy against such deeds. So far, around 60 percent of the total employees have been trained on this policy.
Establishing A Healthy Work Environment
Promoting the culture of mutual trust and respect is the key to success for every organization. Therefore, we, at MK, make sure that every individual learns to respect each other’s personal space and get rid of bias we might have in our minds. Promoting a healthy working environment at MK, our focus is to ensure that each of our employees’ feels safe and secure while working at MK.