So, this is a true story:
About a year ago, we employed a person (man) in one of the 2win companies.
Within a month of joining, he had started ‘harassing’ the women in our office by sending them messages and making them feel very uncomfortable. While the messages were not ‘lewd’, they were offensive and intimidating.
The moment the matter was escalated to me, I called the man into the conference room and confronted him. He kept quiet and had no defence.
We have instituted a Vishakha Committee in 2win and they stepped in to investigate. A few more women came forward with the same story.
I fired that person on the spot and forbade him to return to his desk. I admit I was very harsh to him and screamed at him. The well being of women and their safety is my achilles heel. His belongings were given to him and he was asked to leave the office. I also mentioned that the ‘investigation’ was still on and we would file a police complaint if required.
The next morning I sent a note to my team and asked if anyone of them had an issue. A couple of more girls came forward.
Now comes the shocker:
This man mailed ALL THE 2WIN employees saying that – ‘Alok was harassing him and that he was contemplating suicide and would name me in a letter as the person responsible’.
As as you would have guessed, he became unreachable post that message.
The next 96 hours WERE HELL for me. While we filed a police complaint (and the police assured me that there was nothing wrong with my actions as long as there was a cause for the firing), I cannot tell you how defeated I felt by this strange act of blackmail. I mean what was a CEO supposed to do? (I even filed a Facebook suicide alert!!)
5 days later Mr. Suicide Bomber (as we call him in the office now) began posting pictures of Birds and Trees on Facebook and we knew he was as fine as anyone can be.
But this is what happens when you act in the best interest of your Company, your people and your position and the possible backlash you can encounter given the screwed up laws of this country.
What would you do if you were in my case?
First Published on: Dec 13, 2015