Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
W Gupta
Hr Professional
+1 Other

Dear Seniors,

Please suggest me solution for incidence in one of my friends organisation.

Organisations believes in multi layered designation approach and growing rapidly. Org chart is somewhat (although not fixed as its not organised company) VP-- AVP-- Sr.Mngr-- Mngr--AM--TL--TL (Within TL)--Sr.Exec (somewhere equivalent to TL)--Eexc

one of the TL(within TL) is psychologically harass two execs on daily basis using abusive words (will hit you on face, don't you know how to work, are you stupid or mad, no breaks, don't talk to anyone else apart from team member, no leaves even you are not well-- these all in Hindi in her best shouting voice). This is audible on floor (sitting capacity of arnd- 75) .

one of the exec raised this to her next supervisor and to Sr.Mngr level however to my surprise even Sr.Mngr responded her saying "you should be thankful you don't work directly with me, I was worst then your immediate supervisor". whenever this lady exec raises any issue/concern- related to work also her supervisor raises her voice and says all negative words to her with loud voice.

i would want your experienced support in handling this situation as there is nothing from authority point of view in my hands, neither she is in position to raise this to any further due to her fear of job lose.

i am expecting some strong solution from experienced group like you all.

PS: HR in her company is not streamline and are only engaged and entitled to hire new people. There is no Grievance Redressal Policy exists where she can raise her concern.

I am afraid if she will continue working here with same people either she will get mad or if she survives the situation she will led the same example for her next generation of executive.

Thanks in advance.

S
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Dear S,

Whatever happening at your friend's workplace is quite unfortunate. This should not happen to anyone.

The situation that you have explained in your post prevails in large number of companies. This is because when business owners start their enterprise, their major concentration in organising the funds, getting investors on board, investment in capital equipment etc. Against this backdrop, they consider that humans employed is something of least importance. Motivation at the workplace or interpersonal environment in the company is of no consequence to them. They do not take specific efforts to build organisation culture. When culture is allowed to form on its own, a malformed culture takes shape as the one you have explained. Little do the business owners realise that it is the organisation culture that holds their growth back. However, whatever is happening in your friend's company must be with the countenance with the top leadership. Otherwise, that TL or Senior Manager will not muster courage to do that.

The stress that your friend is getting is not new in Indian companies. Occasionally business dailies conduct survey and publish their survey report on subjects like this. Click the following link to refer one such survey report:

Disrespect at workplace major cause of stress, says HR study

Disempowered HR add woes to the employees. Intemperate immediate superior, unsupportive senior managers and ineffectual HR leads to the exit of large number of employees. Since this is hidden cost, it is ignored by the top leadership.

So what is the solution to your friend's problem? It depends on the need of employment of your friend. If your friend is needy, then let her bide time in the company and quit once she completes 1-2 years. If she is in position to take on the senior authorities, then let her do the audio recording covertly. She should do this when her senior displays her irascibility. Your friend should be cautious while doing the audio recording.

Later your friend may put up written application for handling her grievance. If her seniors turn cold shoulder to her application, then she may still apply to her senior authorities. If still no action is taken then she may approach the local labour officer and submit the evidence of her harassment. However, there is no guarantee that LO will intervene surely. Occasionally, their vested interest drives them to get into the internal matters of the company.

Word of caution: - Though I have suggested options to handle the issue, I also recommend your friend to do introspection. Let her maintain records on the issues for which her TL has/had chided her. What steps has she taken to avoid the repetition of the mistakes? Let her take guidance from her colleagues on how to improve her workplace performance. Granted that your friend's TL wears chip on her shoulder but your friend could be provoking her to do so. Many times at junior level, the mistakes are done because of lack of common sense. Is your friend failing on that count?

Last comments: - Do you work in the friend's company? Have you seen personally how your friend comes under fire from her TL? Is it that your friend work in some other company but she has told you her story? If yes, in that case, it is her version and we need to know the version of her seniors as well.

All the best to your friend!

Dinesh Divekar
Psychological harassment is unpleasant behavior that demonstrate itself in the form of conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures characterized by the following four criteria:

They are repetitive*;

They are unsociable or undesirable;

They affect the person’s dignity or psychological integrity, and

They result in a harmful work environment.

Sexual harassment at work is also included in this definition.

What is vexatious behavior?

It is humiliating or abusive behavior that lowers a person’s self-esteem or causes him torment.

It is also behavior that exceeds what the person considers to be appropriate and reasonable in the performance of his work.

Psychological harassment may come from a superior, a colleague, a group of colleagues, a customer, a supplier…

* A single serious incidence of such behavior may also constitute psychological harassment if it undermines the person’s psychological or physical integrity and if it has a lasting harmful effect.

A few common ways in which harassment is expressed

Making rude, degrading or offensive remarks.

Making gestures that seek to intimidate, engaging in reprisals.

Discrediting the person: spreading rumors, ridiculing him, humiliating him, calling into question his convictions or his private life, shouting abuse at him or sexually harassing him.

Belittling the person: forcing him to perform tasks that are belittling or below his skills, simulating professional misconduct.

Preventing the person from expressing himself: yelling at him, threatening him, constantly interrupting him, prohibiting him from speaking to others.

Isolating the person: no longer talking to him at all, denying his presence, distancing him from others.

Destabilizing the person: making fun of his convictions, his tastes and his political choices.

Management rights and normal conditions of employment

Psychological harassment must not be confused with the normal exercise of the employer’s management rights, in particular his right to assign tasks and his right to reprimand or impose disciplinary sanctions.

Insofar as the employer does not exercise these rights in an abusive or discriminatory manner, his actions do not constitute psychological harassment.

Prevention first

Prevention in the undertaking remains the best means of combating psychological harassment. It is the employer’s responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent psychological harassment and to put a stop to such behavior when it is brought to his knowledge.

Sound management practices

Promote respectful interpersonal communication.

Manage the members of his staff fairly.

Take quick and appropriate action to manage conflicts; do not allow the situation to deteriorate.

Clearly define the responsibilities and tasks of each employee.

Put in place in his undertaking a procedure that is known, efficient, credible and adapted to reality, to allow persons to report cases of harassment confidentially.

Resort, in certain cases, to specialized resources to help put a stop to a psychological harassment situation and to prevent other such situations from arising.

What should you do in the event of psychological harassment at work?

Wherever possible:

Talk about the problem you are experiencing with someone that you are close to, a person that you trust. Do not remain isolated;

Express very clearly to the person who is the source of the unwanted behavior your wish to see such behavior cease immediately.

Check inside the undertaking if there is a procedure making it possible to report the unwanted behavior confidentially.

Bring the matter to the attention of your employer who must put a stop to this behavior by taking appropriate steps.

The Act respecting Labor Standards provides recourse in the event of psychological harassment at work, which is available to every employee, whether unionized, non-unionized, or at the senior managerial level. The Act sets a 90-day period to file a complaint
Dear Friend,
This is a very serious harassment on daily basis and unpleasant atmosphere in your department, where no body can support you or handhold you. You yourself have to come out of it. Either you leave the organization, if enough is enough or become like one of them, if that is their culture they are trying to build in for their organization.
If you are strong enough to raise voice against your seniors, do not fear, approach the nearest women harassment cell in your city to combat the situation else resign from the job. You will get a better respectful job than stay with such bunch of so called professional eccentrics.
Think twice before you jump into any conclusions.
Take care!
Wilma Gupta
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