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This kind of situation needs diplomatic handling.The matter should be reported and top management should be taken into confidence to ensure that appropriate action is initiated considering the women safety as priority.Management has the greater role to play to secure their interest as well as the interest of employees too.
From India, Vadodara
Dear All,
I feel that, most of the managment of the company are helpless, they cant take any action against works very easy, specialy, when some one is union leader, then it will be more deficult as other works supports are there.
Therefore, mangment doesnt want to create any more contraversy by taking any action against it & it may clause in business disturbance as well as company reputation, so, most of the times, HR is helps without support of managment.
but, yes, if mangment is strong then, action can be taken, in this case, company can issue the warning letter against his misbehave..

From India, Mumbai

On practical ground, I have a few suggestion (Mr VK SAJAN is Correct)

1. Ignore what happened. 2. Inform management about it. 3. Next time onwards if possible opt for a video recording, so that later channels for suitable action remain open.

Boss, with Union Leaders, its difficult to fight. And those guys who think, sorry- all those respected HR's who believe, Management is always right, Go by standing order, go by rules and regulation mentioned in article of association during incorporation of a company for internal management, Sec 5,companies Act, go by labour laws, general laws .........these that bla ....bla.....bla....please don't do that.

Management is not always right & same is with Trade Union. I am not distinguishing Legal or Morale ground. What I mean to say, your life is more important then a job.

Eg: Say suppose a HR is forfeiting a certain percentage of Gratuity on termination of an employee, as employee caused some damages. Union is saying no. Then being a senior HR don't make a stupid mistake of teaching LAW, Payroll etc to labour or trade union, more then twice if you see environment is getting hot. If labours commit a rape & murder, who will suffer? HR right? Forget about court & case/police charge sheet etc. Who will bear the pain, lady HR right?

Don't you all think its much mature, to ignore such issue for sometime, so that management can be informed, precautionary measure can be taken for all employees safety - like informing cops, and in there presence a discussion can happen. If a party don't agree atleast will be afraid or scared to take law in hand.

And most important to all my HR friends, you all cant change psychology of people. Some nuts will always be there, who will say' app aurat ho toh aurat hi raho'. Situation become more complicated when politicians get involved in it. So, tackle it smartly.

And FYI I am saying these as I have handled a team of HR, as a Team Leader. Post Completion of regular 2years MBA-HR & Finance, I am pursuing CA & CS so that I can play with legal elements, which you all call -GO BY LAWS or POLICIES. THOSE who have read bare act here, knew very well how many proviso clause are there in Indian laws, so many loop & holes. Every where you all will get people like me, who will make you tempted and you all cant do anything be it by legal means or illegal means. I am from a business family so seen all these. Hence its better to ignore.

(SECRET : PEOPLE CALL ME THAT I AM MORE POISONOUS THEN 7COBRAS, BECAUSE OF MY BRAIN)- I cant use it in good work, always. what to do need money for myself & other employees. If I harass or insult a lady HR, I will do in such a way so that I wont break any laws. Means will utilize all loops & holes of laws, now you all tell me what HR should do, if I am an employee? Management & Administration cant do anything- Not done anything illegal. Personally HR cant do anything, politically connected, posses muscle power or money power. She have to adjust or ignore- if she love the job, else resign. ALL THESE STRATEGIES CUNNING TRADE UNION LEADERS USED.


Sovik B


From India, Mumbai
Dear Amar,

It is not that the members are incapable of suggesting a stern action against the union leader as you have pointed out in your 2nd mail rather you should be happy to get matured and reasoning advice from the members.It is not difficult for a MNC to take action to the extent of removing one's from his post or service, but the same has to be at the cost of the Company.For an example, suppose an action is taken against the said union leader and he creates a ruckus in the shop floor where the production is stopped for some hours. It is possible that by the intervention of higher management or any conciliatory authority, the matter is resolved but think this is done at what cost and ultimately who is loser. You have to understand that when we start our carrer as HR personnel, we have to be at the front to face the people's wrath and should never resort to show off the strength. A tactful handling of the situation always pays better.

I am sure during your college days, you must read about the Seven Basic Management Tools,which covers (i) Man (HR), (ii) Material (basic ingredient in management), (iii) Machines (basic tools), (iv) Money (capital), (v) Method (the art of doing), (vi) Management (functions of management) and (vii) Moral Values (the way business is conducted). The Man (HR) holds the first position, which indicates its importance, without which no business can start or function.

I liked the matured advice given by Sh VK Sajan where he has mentioned that one should not take such incident personally.He has rightly pointed out that the Union leaders at times resort to many tactics to get their work done including abusing the officers.Even it is seen that the union leaders fighting with the management to show their members during the working hours and after the working hours they sit and gossip together.

BS Kalsi

Member since Aug 2011

From India, Mumbai
Dear All,

I think the questioner has narrated the incident from the perspective of the complainant. Without knowing what has actually happened contextually - i.e.,- not only the statement " being a lady, you better behave like a lady ( of course it is my own script developed on the questioner's statement) alleged to have been made by the Union Leader straight to the Lady HR during the course of their discussion on a common issue - but also the context, the HR Lady's last verbal reaction that provoked the union leader to say so and whether he is an employee or outside leader and his age -- it is very difficult to suggest the remedial course. Some years ago, when I was holding conciliation talks as an Asst. Commr on a strike issue, a lady IR Consultant in her late 30s( interestingly a former M.L.A of a political party diagonally opposed to the political party's labour wing to which the striking union was affiliated ) represnted the management. The chief negotiator representing the union, a temporamental person though he was in his late 70s, was objecting to her appearance right from the beginning.I over-ruled his objection on the ground that she was an office-bearer of the Employers' Association in which the management was a member.In the last conciliation before me, the lady, in her excess of enthusiasm to make a point, quoted an old VERNACULAR adage mocking at the role of a priest of a particular religion sanctioning divorce. Unfortunately, the union leader belonged to that religion.Immediately in a bit of rage, the union leader shouted back at her that no virtuous lady would quote such a disapproving example in a conciliation forum and walked out with the workmen. The next day, the lady faxed a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner against me stating that I miserably failed to control the union leader and asked him to transfer the case to some one else.My D.C was a nice man and had confidence in my conciliatory skills.He called me to his chamber and coolly asked what had happened. After narrating the episode, I told him, " sir, a word and a stone, once thrown, cannot be called back.When I suggested an alternative to end the strike, It was the lady who suddenly provoked by quoting such a disapproving adage without saying 'yes' or 'no' and the other gentleman responded to it in an equally disapproving manner.Now I understand that I lost the confidence of the management and therefore consider transferring the dispute to some one else as desired by the management".Of course, later the dispute reached its natural resolution in the elimination of the union with the workmen settling their accounts. We should understand that most of the union people cling to the child's state of mind because of their pre-judgement that the management is always exploitative.So, a HR Executive should be in general very cautious in his/her verbal communication.Particularly, across the table he/she should not give room for one-to-one arguments.So, I ENDORSE the views of Sajan and others in this regard.

From India, Salem
I haven't worked in a manufacturing firm , hence don't know the nuances.
We have best of our experts who knows how to get any work done under these circumstances , without ruffling any feather.
My point is rather neutral . Here's an incident of Late. Brajesh Sahay , who was murdered cold-bloodedly in front of his house in Jamshedpur. Brajesh was an AGM at Tata motors and had received threats, which were subsided with similar logic.
Here are the news on the case Story 1 Story 2
Safety or security is beyond any gender issue.
Loss of life might not be a priority , till it is .
Looking forward to understand more on this.

From India, Mumbai
Please don\'t ignore this. This is directly threatening to Hr person. She should escalate this issue to upper management people and ask for apology or any other preventive steps against this incident. Company should have safety measures for such incidents. Do whatever is appropriate according to you and after thinking in details but do not ignore this.

From India, Pune
I have different opinion on this. Arriving at any decision without knowing the context could be misleading. I will put one assumption here (please note that I am not saying that this would have happened). If the lady become aggressive and hold a guy's collar and in this context the guy utter these words that "you are a lady behave as a lady" realising that he cannot reciprocate in the same way as the lady did because she is a women then I think all the people who have given their comments here that it should not be tolerated will change their opinion.
So my opinion is the tone, context, opponents behaviour, body language everything matters. The person who posted this question should elaborate on all these contexts.

From India, Hyderabad
Dear (Cite Contribution),

Actually, I didn't mean that the suggestion to take stern action against the Union representative for his overt threat is wrong.In industrial relations no right or wrong decisions but certainly there are appropriate and inappropriate decisions.In this esteemed Forum, while answering questions, what the respondents do is just brain-storming. My point is that a wordy altercation arose in a bit of instantaneous bad temperament and inability should not be blown out of proportion so as to escalate further. Another real example of violence in the line you indicated: Some 3 or 4 years ago, a young D.G.M (HR) of a Manufacturing Company in TamilNadu having a total work force of over 3000 people in its principal unit was brutally attacked within the premises that too during the course of negotiations by a group of angry workmen belonging to an unrecognized union and lost his life.For what? Nothing personal against him and he took up that job just 4 or 5 months back then.But it is said that on the very day of his assuming office, the CEO, pointing to the failures of his predecessors, firmly insisted that he should deal with the dissident union in such a manner that it dissipates in a short period.Imagine how much of mental pressure he would have had! The net result would have been that he might have undermined his counselling role to both the Management and the union and simply tried to ensure implementation as directed which resulted in the loss of employment of some workmen belonging to that particular union and ultimately in the loss of his own life.The irony is that the union was recognized by the management subsequently and cordiality restored now. So, the HR forerunner should realize that he is a buffer in between the mgt and the workmen and try to be dispassionate to the extent possible to avert any thing individual against him.

From India, Salem
Dear all, really valuable views you all shared on this context. just want to ask few queries..

what if she don't complaint and ignore this and cause of this nature union leader came in more confidence and next time he misbehaved in different manner??

what if she complaints and a warning letter or any action taken against that union leader but later someday he take revenge and it can be in any way..spc. in female case (rape, physical harm, mentally torture, family attack)

and i am completely agree with Bhandhavi.R. this is only one sided communication. and you all shared your views in favor of HR lady because generally union leaders misbehaved what if in arguments she said something and due to that his anger came out.

I would request to the person who started this post that she is a HR person. she can come here and discuss this in detail or on behalf of her you please discuss in detail. because with assumptions they all Sr. HR people sharing their views and these are very valuable sharing for every one. we all check out things here to handle the issues in our starting phase of HR.

From India, Gurgaon

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