Following can be deduced from the facts mentioned in your post:
a) The incident has happened out of the company premises and it was not related to employment as such.
b) Just because the male employee gave lift to the woman employee on completion of the duty hours is no ground to point finger at him.
c) Both the employees must be adults and they have right to spend time together after working hours. We do not know whether they spent time together or not. Who knows, after covering certain distance, the male employee dropped the woman employee or both spent the time together.
d) You have written that "There is fault of both the people." Where is the fault? The couple did not inform their respective family members especially the female employee, is the only wrong action on their part.
e) HR can issue warning letter or initiate disciplinary action provided there is misconduct. What is the misconduct as per the standing orders? Therefore, forget about the disciplinary action.
f) Indians have penchant for mixing personal standards in their professional matters. Who are we to decide what is moral and what is immoral? It is a personal choice. Limit of the boundary wall of the company is the limit of the moral standards of the company as well. What happens out of fence is of no concern to us.
Final comments: - Staying outside in the night without informing family members was misjudgement on the part of both the employees. However, this cannot become ground to take any action. As such woman employee has left her job. When she was found at the outskirts of the city, what was her condition? Did any sexual assault take place? If yes, then let her make a complaint to the police. If police deem it fit then they may call the male employee for questioning. Nevertheless, it is personal matter between two employees and HR has no role to play.
I feel sorry if you were dragged in the incident. The company officials might have gone tizzy when they came to know that the woman went missing. Possibly you and other staff members might have involved in the searching her. This was unwanted and thankless job for you and other members of the search party. But then this is the negative aspect of the HR function. You may grumble for a while on loss of sleeping hours and move on!
From India, Bangalore
I agree with you that it is their personal issue,but what if anything goes wrong and parents complain against the management. Aren't we responsible for it?Can we ignore the issue in such case?Pls suggest.
Another point is the female employee is not a staff,she is a contractual labour.
From India, Anantapur
As rightly stated by Mr.Dinesh, we have got nothing to do with a boy who gave lift to a lady as it has happened outside the Factory. If you start focusing too much on these kind of issues happen outside the office / factory, you will have to appoint dedicated resource to look after this.
I would have strongly recommended something against both if any misconduct happened inside the factory / office.
Now, coming to your question that "what if anything goes wrong and parents complain against the management". Nothing will happen against company even if they make a complaint.
However if you want to stop this in future, you can try the following
a. Place a notice on the board explaining the ethical behaviors to be adhered by your people. Try creating more awareness on this.
b. Call both of them separately and orally warn him to stop doing this in future. No need to issuing any warning letters.
From India, Madurai
Your worry about complaint by the woman employee's parents against management is misplaced. In what way the company is involved? After duty hours, where employees go, with whom they go and and at what time do they reach home etc are the questions of no consequence to the company. Yes, this kind of incident should not have happened nevertheless, nothing can be done to avoid it's recurrence. Possibly you may counsel the male employee. You may tell him that getting involved in these acts may distract him and could have implications on the growth of his career. But beyond that this nothing can be done!
For Kannan: - You have written that Place a notice on the board explaining the ethical behaviors to be adhered by your people. Who are we to promote the ethical conduct? What is unethical to you could be ethical to someone else. We do not know whatever the couple did whether it was legal or illegal. More than twenty years ago Lucknow Highcourt allowed marriage between to woman constables of UP Police. In the verdict the court had told that social/ethical standards and laws need to be interpreted differently. Above all you are recommending to put up a board for ethical conduct. In these days of social media, suppose someone takes photograph and uploads it social media then who will explain the boundaries of the ethical conduct? Therefore, it is better not to involve in the matter that are purview of company activities.
From India, Bangalore
My suggestion for the company's HR, you can have an awareness to all department heads that such incident is not covered by the company and that any personal things that may happen is not the company's liability. And advise them that each one has to take caution and be careful every after office hours. Not need any written notice to notice boards, it all has to be mutual and just reminder.
From Bangladesh, Dhaka
From India, Madras
Nobody knows whether the male employee has taken the lady to the area where she was found or he might have dropped her nearby on humanity grounds and she might have gone on her own or else with some one else and all these are the points to be investigated by the police in case they received a complaint.
As far as the company is concerned you need to keep the In & out entries of both of them intact and submit to the police or authorities in case they come for investigation & tell them that left the premises on completion of their respective duty & the company has not sent them out on duty
If the management / organization / HR start interfering by extending their duty then there won't be any end for that and need to face lot many issues hence I opine that we need not even think of displaying notice / counselling etc., because tomorrow two more people go & kill somebody or theft some thing from some where etc., will also happen
From India, Hyderabad
I donot share the view expressed by some colleagues that since the incident took place outside duty hours and out of premises the management has no responsibility whatsoever. In my view this incident has taken place out of and during the course employment and the management must take cognizance of it. But from the post it appears that without presenting the ascertained facts like ,what is the version of the lady employee regarding the sequence of events from the time she took lift till she returned home, did some untoward incident happened , did she resist and was the male employee responsible for it etc. I often find that half facts or superficial details are provided by the advice-seeker resulting in some giving misleading advice or unnecessary queries which has happened in the instant case.
In this case, if the ascertained facts point finger at the male employee having misbehaved with the lady colleague , the management has to take action against the truent employee as the very reputation of the company will be at stake.Depending on the gravity of the misconduct the management should take appropriate disciplinary action against the concerned.
From India, Mumbai
What time was the end of work shift.
In some states (Gujarat, Karnataka), management is required to ensure that female employees are escorted home. If such is the case and the male employee was asked to ensure she rescheduled home safe, then you have a right to conduct a domestic enquiry and take appropriate action.
Further, the Internal Complaint Committee under Prevension of Sexual Harassment needs to take suo moto congence of the matter and investigate if there was any case of sexual harassment or intimidation. This is more so if there is a complaint by the concerned employee. The ICC may also take up the task of sensitisation with provisions of the law on this matter as a future preventive exercise
From India, Mumbai
I repeat that tha advice seeker has not been providing full details which is resulting in asking for clarifications , making assumptions and basing advice ov the same.This can be avoided if the the post gives all facts upfront.
From India, Mumbai