Dear HR Fraternity. I have come across a difficult situation and looking for your guidance and advice.
I work as individual contributor. my primary job role is sourcing, recruitment, onboarding, employee grievance handling, employee engagement and exit interview. I am responsible to work with multiple stakeholders of different business verticals. Due to my friendly nature lot of people open up and come to me to seek help regarding their work related issues.
One of the business verticals is headed by a Female Manager who reports to a GM. There was high attrition and many people were leaving this vertical and during interaction and exit interview it came out that there were issues with this lady the way she talked with people was very rough. upon informing her superior he informed that she was demanding work from them and the guys were not able to meet expectations and hence they were leaving job. many time this complaint came up even with existing reportee as well. even I my self had experienced this with her but I had good relation so i never confronted to her.
Recently similar thing again happened and I confronted but this time she started putting blame of harrassment on me and now I am in catch 22 position.
I had my superiors also involved but he also feels helpless since she is a female and our company policy is strict in terms of any such event.
please suggest how do I handle this situation. What are possible out comes in such case since I have already raised the matter on mail to my superior that I fell demotivated due to the way this lady behaved and talks and create undue pressure.

From India , Hubli
Dear member,
I understand your situation. This is the downside of the HR profession is. When they work in the interest of the company sometime they have to face a backlash. The incident that you have involved is an illustrative example of this. We need to analyse the situation on two counts, one is hindsight and sight.
However, you have not mentioned what is your designation.
In the hindsight, it can be said that you could have assigned this job of controlling employee attrition to a specific department to the General Manager. Did you do an analysis of what is the employee attrition at the organisation level and what is the break up of this percentage? If the particular department has high attrition level then controlling the attrition also could have been Key Result Area (KRA) of that manager.
If the General Manager also expressed his helplessness, then why he did not take the matter to his superiors? The analytical study could have been presented to the superiors.
When you had "confronted" her, how many persons were involved in the meeting? Considering her disposition to have unrestrained propriety, did you record the discussion that took place with her?
Now coming to how to handle the situation. You say that she has blamed you for the "harassment". But then every harassment need not be sexual harassment. Has she given any specific complaint against you? What evidence she could have?
If it is a verbal complaint, even then also, what evidence she could have? Will it sustain in the enquiry?
If you think that your hands are clean then you may submit an application to the MD of your company. In this application, you may also state that the company may order enquiry to enquire the harassment charges.
In the meanwhile, you may go and talk to some lawyer and ask him what can be done if some female employee makes a false allegation against you. However, do this only if she has filed a complaint of sexual harassment.
Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear colleague,
The issue is high turnover rate in a given vertical due primaraly to rough behaviour of the female head (Manager) of the activity. The high attrition rate due to her behaviour is borne out by the exit interview reports. But when confronted her with it, she has reacted immaturily by apparently not accepting it as a knee jerk reaction and deliberately framing you under harassment charges. Her boss also seem to support her instead of counselling her.
If the exit interviews overwhelmingly reveal her rough behavior as the only cause of attrition, then the matter has to be escalated to the top decision maker if her immediate boss shirks from taking responsibility. In the larger interest of the organization, she must be counselled by the top authority, to mend her ways.
The suggestion of forming reduction in attrition rate as a part of her KRAs will surely make her introspect and act on it in the positive manner.
Her charge of harassment against you, apparently is motivated and appears without factual basis. So you need not worry and take all actions till she changes herself or you make organization change her.
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR- Consultant

From India, Mumbai

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