Dinesh Divekar

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Dear All Seniors, I am working as a product manager with a leading pharmaceutical company based in Mumbai.

i have recently joined these organisation , after completion of my induction and orientation programme i am on-field job with my senior manager .my senior manager is the profit centre for my company and next to the director in the hierarchy, but during the work i analysed that he is more interested to make a personal relationship with me instead of professional.

I am already married women and don't like any loose talks and any physical contacts, the same message I already passed on to that person but he is not ready to understand and pressurising a lot to me for friendship. Several times he expressed his feelings about me that he has a kind of affection towards me.

he crossed jis almost 55 years of age and a well settled married person, now during the talk with him several times he tries to touch me and hug me, that felt uncomfortable during the work, my problem is that I already expalined my problem to him and told him that I dont want any personal realtionship with anyone in the industry I am here for professionalism and for a career but what he told me that if he starts professional behaviour with me then it's very difficult for me to survive in the industry and now he starts doing politics against me to take me out from the company, now he came up with several unsual problems which affect my work.

Now I am mentally disturbed and depressed. this is the prime opportunity of my career and don't want to lose my job just because of that womaniser. He already indicated me that if I don't follow what he likes and he wishes then I will lose my job. my problem is that he is the authorised person in the company after director and he is the profit centre for the company and if I will raise a complaint against him then I am sure there is no action taken placed by the company because he is very close to the director and he is profit centre.

I don't want to lose my job in this recession period. I need the job but I am not going to compromise with my ethics. May I request to all seniors kindly give me some suggestion that what can I do now to make hin understand because now as the professional way he troubles me a lot because he wants a personal relationship with me?

Please give me some tips.

From India, Pune
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Manager, Operations
Jhuma Tiwade
Manager- Human Resources
Cite Contribution
Community Manager
Recruitment/talent Acquisition, Career Counselling
Raj Kumar Hansdah
Shrm, Od, Hrd, Pms
Consultancy_hr & Ir
Hr Mgr, Couselor And Trainner
Hr Professional
Deepa Vipin
Senior Executive - Hr
+3 Others


Hello Pooja,

Not sure what the ladies would suggest, but I think you should quit ASAP, before he spreads out the canards outside the Company. Since you say that he one of the TOP guys in the Company, I think it's fair to assume that his contacts outside the company would be quite wide.

Coming to your impression about the recession, I think you are far out-of-the-mark. At least the Indian market is again quite vibrant and is almost back to normal. Just go ahead & begin your trials to change--but I would suggest that you be as discrete as possible. Though you would know better about the Pharma industry in India, I believe it's closely-knit. I hope you get what I mean. Another thing is: pl don't disclose the ACTUAL reason for looking for the change so soon after joining--it may not be taken on face value & also there is every chance that it may go against your candidature.

You haven't mentioned anything about your family. But I suggest you keep them informed too, in whatever way you think you 'feel' is the best way.

Some Forum members may suggest to pay him back in a tough way. But I think that's ill-advised for 2 reasons: (1) what he does ISN'T IN YOUR CONTROL, but what you want to do or do IS IN YOUR CONTROL. Just go & do it--in the right way & timing. (2) Even if you want strongly to give it back to him, just hold back & think if it's worth it [both in terms of time & effort]--even if you find a way to do it, despite his position. Sometimes in life, it's better to move away from situations that aren't in our control--which is totally different from running away.

All the Best.



From India, Hyderabad
Dinesh Divekar

Dear Pooja,

It is quite unfortunate to note that this is all happening to you. You are between devil and deep blue sea.

Situations of these kind happen because workplace romance is considered fait accompli by few. Your Director must have some predecessor who was responding to his sexual overtures and now he feels that you should follow predecessors suit.

What choices you have now? You have following choices:

a) Accept his sexual overtures without objections
b) Not to accept his sexual overtures on one hand but not to raise objection either.
c) Not to accept his sexual overtures and remind him of dire consequences.
d) Quit the employment

Your personal values will decide your choice. Whichever you go I request you not to take a stress. However, going by your post, I feel that choice appropriate to you is (c) or (d). But your problem is that you do not want to take up the cudgel.

You can raise case of sexual harassment against him. Supreme court has given guidelines in famous Vishakha case to protect the women employers. However, before raising the case, you need to have proper evidence.

In many companies, justice is linked to the designation. Higher the designation, higher the chances of defaulter being let off. Therefore, you need to be very cautious.

The best thing is to acquire some good mobile phone and record the conversation. Most of the Samsung mobiles have facility to record the telephonic conversation. Without showing emotions of any kind, you remind him of professional behaviour and tape the conversation. Sooner you tape the conversation, transfer the audio file to your computer. You may upload it on your personal e-mail ID to avoid evidence getting destroyed.

Once you have 3-4 such sessions of recording, either in person or through telephone, you can raise a case of sexual harassment. Make sure that there is no larger time gap between generation of evidence and actual complaint.

If your company tries to shield him you can go to nearest police station and lodge a complaint or even go to National Women Commission with proper evidence.

When I recommend this, be clear that this option will anyway be quite traumatic and may put your career in jeopardy. But then passing through the bigger fire is better than getting minor burns everyday.

There other women members of this forum like (Cite Contribution) Majumdar and Jane Autumn may give their comments.


Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore


It is clear that you are walking a VERY slippery path and not by choice.
You have to respond to these overtures from the boss. If he is not resisted he will become more bold and treat you as a captive, pliable at will and he will operate without limits.

Since the company does not belong to him, you have as much right to be employed there as anyone else, including him.

Tell me if your superiors know you for your work.

I suggest following ways/alternatives but remember, association with such a person needs to be snapped as fast as is possible and in the meanwhile you can only take care of your safety.
  1. Invite him and his family, particularly his wife for a high tea or dinner at your place. Invent an occasion, if necessary. Make it a private party between the two families. The children should be encouraged to participate.
  2. Develop friendship with his wife independently but do not share her husband's ways with her right away.
  3. Lodge a formal complaint with the superiors, if necessary by going over his head and to police for obscene behaviour, indecent proposals and suggestive overtures.
  4. But before that you must equip yourself with some evidence. This is possible with the help of cleverly used voice recorder on your mobile. Then there are video/audio resorder pens that are very effective and you can record all his indecent speech/behaviour. These pens are fairly economical and easily available. Using them is also very easy. You must pick up courage to use this pen! The Police and also your superiors will have no way to avoid to act!
All this only if you wish to stand up for your rights and be fearless about your self respect/esteem. If you feel you are not upto putting up a fight, it is better to QUIT at once! There is no victory or defeat in such matters. No job is more important that your esteem and sanctity of your family and near ones and dear ones!

Best of Luck.

October 2, 2010

From India, Pune
Raj Kumar Hansdah

Dear poojaj

I am sorry to know about your problem.

There are certain 'black sheep' in every industry/organization, who are bent on exploiting 'victims'. They identify their victims as those who are new or appear defenceless.

Certain situations require 'out-of-the-box' thinking for solutions.

Apart from the excellent advices given earlier, I would suggest that you stop 'playing' the victim. You had been a member of CiteHR.com since Feb. 2008, and I find that you have almost 6 years experience in HRM and have independently handled your HR consultancy !!

Do not get daunted or cowed down at such unfair intimidations. You may consider the person as a 'blue-eyed boy' of the management, but it may not necessarily be true. Sometimes, the organization may be looking for a valid excuse/reason to 'tame' that person. A well-documented complaint, supported by evidence and witnesses may give the management just the required ammunition to fire the person !!

Feel empowered by the fact that the law is on your side. "Sexual harassment" is a serious offence, and apart from the severe consequences in employment, it is punishable by law. Recently, very senior and even iconic, professionals have been indicted of this offence and awarded appropriate punishment. So, you need not get awed by the status of the delinquent senior.

Initially, you may try to deal tactfully by making it very clear in precise words and tone to the other person to desist from making any moves or remarks that are not in the context of your employment or assigned responsibility.

If it still persists, you can escalate the matter informally by meeting the concerned HR person or his Reporting Officer and convey that if necessary you will put up a formal complaint. In all likelihood, the person shall be informed/warned verbally.

Also, since this matter is beyond professional realm, enlist the support of your family members. Confide in your husband and seek his help. He has every right to interfere in this matter. At times, even a drop and pick-up from office is enough to deter such advances.

Hope you find the above, useful. Do keep the members informed, in case of any developments.

Warm regards.

From India, Delhi

Hello Pooja,

Raj Kumar is right in quite a few aspects.

Before taking it up within the organisation, suggest enlist your husband's dropping @ office idea what Raj Kumar suggested.

Also given that your boss seems to be so brazen, there's every chance that he could have succeeded earlier. And that's probable, what Raj Kumar suggested--that the organization may be looking for a valid excuse/reason to 'tame' that person--ought also to be true, since such things NEVER get off the notice--just because people don't react/respond doesn't mean they don't notice. So if you can plan out your steps carefully as Dinesh Divakar suggested, you should be able to collect evidence without many hassles.

Also, how are your relations with other female staff? Usually such things get discussed--get to know of the past within the company--not that it will solve your problem, but such feedback can give you ideas on how to handle the situation better.



From India, Hyderabad
Cite Contribution

Dear Pooja,

First, this is not a one off problem in your career. Junctures like this would keep coming in different forms, be it as an ethical or a professional dissonance. Relax and think long term.

It has happened to other who have worked in your position and would happen to the ones who join after you .The one who faced it before you have found their solution, so would you. Have you tried finding out, how they resolve it?

Your fear and vulnerability will give power to him. Always remember you have a choice! Even if this job is the best thing that has happened to you, what do you think you will gain if you continue working like this? Are you imagining people outside the organization donít know what kind of man is he? He doesnít need to malign you, the fact that you had survived him will do needful! So decide on the end date to this job. Either move into a role within the organization or move out.

Itís difficult but still manageable to survive a toxic boss. But the one who targets your reputation isnít worth the effort. If you decide to leave the job and start looking for a new one, he would read the absence of fear in you. Expect the worst out of him. Remain vigilant and courteous. Never snap him , consistently remain cold and indifferent as if he revokes no reaction in you . If he ask you ,tell him some vague issues you are dealing at home . Avoid talking on anything other than work . Remain consistent at it. He is likely to lose interest in you eventually. Avoid being alone with him by all means. If possible shift your work station and arrange for team meetings. Miss out on all the travels together. If he request for a meeting arrange it in a cabin with glass walls. Incase you donít have such a place in your office look for a place which is in complete public view .Take up initiative and project which will require you to work and report to other leaders .This will need a lot of tact, but is not impossible . Do it very cautiously without raising any alarm.

In the meantime, do make effort to be known to his family, though it would be very tricky and can complicate things. His wife might have been saturated to such stories about him, hence remain indifferent. Worst he may restrict you, this can be pretty insulting for you. Weigh your options before you try that. Look for an office celebration on a public platform, where he may not have a choice to restrict his wife's and your interaction. Read on how such interactions have been allowed with other ladies in your office.

Sharing this with your family may give you emotional support only if you have a complete understanding with them. It may create unnecessary hassles if your husband canít take the situation objectively. Try resolving it on your own.

If you wish to be shifted into another department, that would happen only through him! He is definite to be your sponsor but then with a cost! Know your trade-off. Plan meticulously. Site other sponsors who might be able to help you plan your career path within the organization. If you have women leaders, look for them. They may not do anything for you, but be known to them. Make an ally with the decision makers of the other business units, so that if required they can help you shift. Suppose you are in marketing, you have a health reason which is why you need to be in a stationed job, or maybe you wanted to be in HR for long. Even if it is with lower pay or at a lower position, do not bother. Just take it up . Remember to remain very patient if you choose this way.

By all means do not fuel the grapevine. Use it to collect information. Never malign him, until you are dead-sure to succeed through the open-door. Before you consider open-door, find out who manages and how they have been responding to it. Using open door can get you attention but may not do justice to the situation. When he is such a blue eyed boy, his detractors might use you to create a case against him, with little or no results for you. I am sure there were many cases reported on him. It must have fell on deaf ear. Worst a whole lot of drama must have been created with no result. Sorry for the assumption. If he was not sure of the support he have, he wouldnít have been this unscrupulous.

Look for a job by all means. It isnít escapism. You can fight only when it would create any productive result. The fact that you will decided to stand for yourself will give you a lot of strength and freedom. In the long run, you wouldnít stand to lose much even if you canít land up an equally good job. Itís all about the breadth of your experience which makes you employable.

Every problem is as difficult as you see it and as good as you manage it .Wish you all the best!

(Cite Contribution)

From India, Mumbai
Raj Kumar Hansdah

Dear (Cite Contribution) Thanks for your post. It opens up an entirely new perspective to the situation (and the problem), which was very much necessary (and important too). Warm regards.
From India, Delhi
Hi pooja,
Many womens are targeted like this in majority of the organisation. But never give up. I appreciate your courage in atleast requesting suggestions in open forum like this. I would personally advise you to warn him of dire consequences. Already you have given suffecient time for him to change his attitude. Never think of quitting the job unless it is very much unavoidable. Bcoz every where these problems do exist. There have been many example of people being thrown out of job, for unruly/misbehaviour with womens in work. Top management is always there to support you ladies in good organisation. If organization is not good then i would definitely suggest you to think over in continuing there. Keep your family members posted on this. Don't pretend to be soft to him, warn him clearly once as i told earlier. Bold people always made big names and professionalism always fetches you good results. All the best.

From India, Bangalore
Jhuma Tiwade

Hi Poojaj,
First and foremost confide with your husband and get his support. Next you should drop a mail to hr about the misbehavior part of this senior with a cc to yourself and his immediate senior.
See, you are in a position which may jeopardize your job. So you will have to take risk. Even if you are to lose your job, it shouldn't cost your self respect. See no company likes to keep a staff who may bring in a sexual harassment issue post the strict rule by the govt.
Stand up for yourself. What do you do if u find a eve teaser on your way home? You don't change your home but teach him a teach him a lesson. You will find such idiots everywhere.
One tight slap next time will get things straight. He is thinking we are vulnerable. Please do not let anyone take advantage of you.

From India, Mumbai
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