Hello Seniors, I would like to know what would be the liability of the CEO/ Director of a Company in case any employee of the Company attempts suicide at home for work pressure?
From India
Dear Kumar,

Well gentleman, you have asked for the liability if employee makes suicide attempt. You have not asked responsibility of CEO or Director to avoid future attempts. Your one-line post speaks volumes!

The immediate requirement is to send the employee for counselling. However, situation is far more serious and issues that were pushed under the carpet cannot remain there. The attempt to commit suicide has lifted the carpet and cobwebs have started tumbling out. Has the police complaint been made? How is the health of the employee?

Did employee write any suicide note? Please check that also. Secondly, what counsellor recommends that also matters. Do not brush aside his/her recommendations. While you could not avert attempt to commit suicide by this employee, however, you need to find out what can be done to avoid such attempts by others in future. Check the following points:

a) Working hours of the employee in questions. Did employee put up excess working hours and if yes, then by what per cent? Why the excess working hours escaped from the attention of HR?

b) Relations of the employee with the managers. Did manager harass him/her?

c) Relations of the employee with the team members. Did they fail to cooperate with him/her?

d) Was employee unfit to do the job? Did he/she have sufficient skills to handle the job? If yes, who measured and how these skills were measured?

e) Was employee given very different job that his/her skill set. Did employee accept the assignment to avoid the termination?

f) Does fear of termination looms large on the minds of employees? How the separation from the company is handled? Are the employees fired on the spot? Do you conduct domestic enquiries before terminating the employees? If yes, what is ratio of termination against enquiries?

g) Was there pressure on employee to conduct some unethical activity?

h) Do you have open door policy? Are senior managers approachable? Do employees feel unsafe to approach seniors? Do juniors view senior managers as just big-sized puppets?

i) Is over-ambitiousness of the CEO is dismissed as his "vision"? Has his over-ambition converted the employees into cogs of the wheel?

Conclusion: - Those who are below 30, have been brought up in safe and protected environment by their parents. They were not exposed to harshness of the life like in the preceding generation. Your CEO/Director needs to take into account this social change. When companies impose rules, regulations, targets etc, they do exactly opposite of their parents. Amidst this, CEO has just lopsided focus on keeping the enterprise competitive.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
If seniors behave sensibly with people, irrespective of the work pressure such situations can be avoided.
From India, Thane
It is disgusting to know that CEO/Director is worried about his liabilities to escape from the clutches of law.Further, it is admitted that attempt of suicide is due to Work Pressure. First The concerned CEO/Director should undergo Employee sensitization progrmme & create congenial work place for his beloved employees instead of adverse circumstances.
From India, New Delhi
Dear All,

I have read comments with due attention and respect and in agreement that --in case the attempted suicide is due to work pressure or due to work related reasons including what has been brought out by Mr.Divekar, than there is major problem in the workplace environment.

I am aware of few suicide cases while serving in Army and was taken aback that despite all normal outward appearances a junior level colleague committed suicide --it turned out that he had domestic problems which he did not share with anyone. Tell tale signs are otherwise there and can be recognized by colleagues and seniors.

Personal touch /connect with colleagues can be of great help.

Generally if a person in distress /depression is treated medically ,such incidents can be avoided.

I am no expert in this field but am sure in case any organisation has a practice of one to one interaction

session -say one in quarter-with the department head, it might help to avert such situations.

I am open to disagreements with my views .


From India, Delhi
So far as I understand the law, direct liability of the directors may not be there if the employee concerned does not report to the director/s directly.
In case the employee does not directly report to them but reports to some other person who reports directly to the director and the person attempting suicide, gives a statement implicating his boss on the grounds of creating excessive work pressure as instigator, the directors may have vicarious liability.
This observation is based on the facts & circumstances narrated by you.

From India, Thane

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