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HR experts blame lack of employee orientation programmes in hotels for increasing sexual harassment related cases

Saturday, August 19, 2017, 13:41 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff |New Delhi

In the light of increasing incidents of sexual harassment cases in hotels and hospitality industry of late, latest being in one of the five-star hotels in Aerocity hospitality district in New Delhi, Human Resource experts blamed it on lack of proper and regular employee orientation programmes for incidents getting blown over in public domain, bringing disgrace not only for the individual hotel involved in such incidents but for the industry as a whole which prides itself as a women friendly industry.

In the latest case involving a 33-year-old front office executive of the Aerocity Hotel, where she alleged that the hotel management had ignored her complaint of a molestation bid on her by the Security Manager of the hotel, and instead of taking action against the Security Manager of the Hotel HR has shown her the door, HR experts feel that neither the employee nor the HR of the hotel followed the laid out rules and procedures properly before going to the Police with the complaint.

As per law, there should be an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) with more than 50% female representation, comprising a Senior lady employee as Chairperson and an independent external member from an NGO as member in every unit. And all employees should know about the existence of ICC and the name and other details of the members of that committee should be known to all the employees, said an HR Director of a known Hotel in New Delhi.

“Any complaint of sexual harassment should be referred to the ICC first. The committee should enquire about the incident and report it to the Appointing Authority. It is the appointing authority which decides on the kind of punishment considering the gravity of the report,” he said. “In the said case, there seems to have some lax attitude on the part of the Assistant HR manager concerned in directly the complainant to the ICC,” he said.

“Today, most of the people dealing with labour and HR matters are ignorant of the rules and compliances to be followed while handling matters concerning allegations of sexual harassment,” says another HR expert who handled Corporate HR and Training of many hotel companies in India. “How many hotels’ annual reports mentions the number of employee orientation programmes they undertake in the hotel. Sensitisation is most important at all levels about what all comes under sexual harassment,” he informs.

“In a 5-star hotel 12 to 15% of their total staff strength is women. Therefore, orientation and is quite important for employees that will definitely give them confidence, strength and assurance,” he said.

Meanwhile, there are people find some kind of disconnect in the whole episode being blown over as the alleged attempt to molest the woman employee was occurred in a CCTV room with cameras around and another male employee present as per visuals and seen walking out later.

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