Sexual harassment doesn’t happen in offices

She opens her eyes unsure if she has slept at all. Checks phone. Switched off. The first rays of the sun shine on her face revealing tear marks and dark circles. Today is the second day of the rest of her life. She knows it would be an uphill battle…

The beginning

It all began on the first day of her new job just over a week back. Her new boss, John Doe was the toast of the town. He had just won the biggest project in the company’s history. His first words to her were, “We’re celebrating this Friday. You should come.”

The next day, she saw John at lunch having an animated discussion with 2 other guys in suits. He winked at her. She smiled shyly.

Back at her desk, she saw a message on the office communicator. It was John.

“You’re looking nice today. 😉 “

“Thanks.”

On Wednesday afternoon, John had another message for her.

“Coffee in the evening?”

No

Have some other plans

“Sorry, John. I think I’ll have to pass.”
“Sure but you don’t have to be a bitch about it.”
Oh no. I could have been nicer, she thought.

The advance

In the hustle-bustle of her new job she had totally forgotten to check Facebook till Thursday. Friend Request from John. His profile picture was with his wife and 2-year old daughter. She liked it and commented, “Cute pic.”

On her way home, she checked again. 72 notifications. John had liked all her pics.

RED FLAG

At the office party on Friday, a few drinks and dance tracks later, John asked her.

“Smoke?”

She didn’t smoke but before she could say anything she felt a strong tug at her elbow. Alcohol was doing its work and her diminished motoring skills could allow her to do nothing more than follow John out of the bar.

“John, I don’t smoke.”

“Neither do I. Why smoke when we could do more?”

John said as he put his arm around her waist and pulled her close.

Somehow she wrestled herself away and left the place, furious. She had to act fast. Maybe she could complain to HR? Over the weekend, she calmed herself down, thinking, “He was drunk. I have to work with him. Can’t ruin his and my own career for this.”

The repercussions

 The Monday after, she saw a meeting invite at 11 pm from John. At the meeting, John stood facing a wall. She stood next to him. He was mumbling something unintelligibly. She came closer to try and listen.

“Why are you such a tease?”, he said as he placed his hand on her butt. Then, in one swift motion, he pushed her against the wall face first and held her hand behind her back. She screamed in pain and pushed him away. She ran as fast as she could, tears flowing down her cheeks.

She felt anger at not having acted earlier but now she had evidence. The office cameras would have surely captured everything. She knew what to do.

The next day, she informed HR about the incident. She thought she had a clear cut case but HR had other ideas.

“John is due for promotion. We cannot have this on his record. We suggest you resign. Since you have not completed your confirmation period, you will not be required to serve any notice period. We wish you all the best.”

Sexual harassment is a curse for the modern workplace

Every interaction between her and John is an instance of sexual harassment. She has no name because she is every woman and any John Doe could be the culprit. #YesAllWomen face sexual harassment in the workplace and outside.

In 2014, in India alone, 526 cases of sexual harassment were reported at office premises as well as other places related to work. It is up to us to decide whether to wait for someone to dust an incident of sexual harassment in our offices under the carpet, scoff at the number being too low to take appropriate action, or step ahead and take the lead in curbing harassment of any form, at any level.

Our company AasaanJobs is strongly against sexual harassment, we will help you in finding better place to work.

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