With all hopes and positivist it is for all of us to turn our attention to the opportunities and trends the year 2014 will bring. Year 2013 has gone with a sense of shame when media, business and judiciary have been under accusations from juniors for causing sexual harassment to them by seniors. From beginning to end the year has also witnessed the drastic change in laws to protect the women from physical abuse.|
Sexual harassment at workplace is not news but certainly it becomes news when high profile individuals are alleged to have done it. In spite of having law in hand to deal with sexual harassment issues by organizations, problem will come to an end, seems difficult. It is important to remember some basic truths of business and work places. More and more women are entering in job market. While working with male colleagues, possibility of mutual attraction and romance can not be ruled out. Organisations have to draw a line of workplace conduct. Such relationship even if consensual at start may pose serious problem for organizations later on because in all possibilities if one were to withdraw from relationship due to any reason, other's retaliation will bring it in harassment domain. Relationship between a person of influence and some one lower in hierarchy is bound to give perception of undeserved privilege for an individual undermining the integrity of the workplace ethics. Hierarchies within organizations are meant only to effectively co-ordinate business activities, not to bring personal relationship within the distribution of power implicit in a functional hierarchy.
It has to be categorically displayed by organizations through actions that sexual harassment is a crime that will not go away through either silent suffering on the part of the women or suppression of protest in the name of company reputation. Organisations, therefore, walk a fine line between fun and legally compliant workplace. Do's & don'ts must be enforced to maintain the distinction. In today's liberalized times, when social norms are changing, ensuring compliance in organizations also calls for unambiguous policy on the contexts in which sexual harassment has got to be evaluated.
The cover feature of January 2014 issue is to explore the understanding of new law on sexual harassment, its impact on workplace relationship and organisations' perception and commitment towards workplace free from sexual harassment. Apart from this, a special feature is also here on possible HR trends of the coming year for which HR professionals have to pull up their socks to assess the impact.