IT major Wipro reported the highest increase in number of sexual harassment complaints in absolute numbers. ICICI Bank and Infosys showed maximum reduction in absolute numbers with the private lender reporting 40 cases lesser in FY19.
Indian companies reported more cases of sexual harassment in FY19 compared to a year earlier.
Data from BSE 100 companies, showed a 14% increase in reports of sexual harassment complaints in FY19, based on an analysis of their annual reports by ComplyKaro Services.
Experts said that while an increase in reportage could point to greater awareness about legislation on sexual harassment at workplace and efforts by companies to make workplace safer for women.
Prompt action by organisations will act as a deterrent for others, and it will encourage women to come out and report,” he added.
Moreover, increased reporting is good to start with as it means there is more awareness, he said adding.
Going by ComplyKaro data based on BSE 100 companies, there were a total of 823 cases of sexual harassment reported in FY19 against 722 a year ago.
IT major Wipro reported the highest increase in number of complaints in absolute numbers.
However, ICICI Bank and Infosys showed maximum reduction in absolute numbers with the private lender reporting 40 cases less in FY19 and the IT major reporting 8 cases less during the fiscal.
Sexual Harassment: What companies’ (like Infosys, Tata Steel) top officials are saying
Richard Lobo, head of HR at Infosys said that, they have always had a strong anti-sexual harassment policy and a governance model to report and curb sexual harassment in any form.
Suresh Tripathi, vice president, human resource management, Tata Steel said that, women are more prompt these days to report any case of sexual misconduct and it is the responsibility of organisations to take speedy action.
We continue to reinforce this through active participation from all our stakeholders, mainly our employees.
Vishal Kedia, director, ComplyKaro, which specialises in prevention of sexual harassment (PoSH) compliance, attributed the increase in number of complaints to greater awareness of PoSH law in light of the MeToo movement and the corresponding reputational risk involved for corporates in case efficacious internal redressal mechanism is not provided.
Saundarya Rajesh, president of Avtar Career Creators and FLEXI Careers India, said that, with increased focus on PoSH in recent times ensuring absolute compliance, heightened awareness and greater employee empowerment, this is bound to happen.
On the other hand, One of our surveys of 100 best companies saw a 30% increase in the number of reported incidences of sexual harassment between 2018 and 2019, she added.
The increase in pendency of complaints to be resolved at the end of the year is concerning since the reputational risk for both parties involved can only be mitigated through prompt redressal and a well-trained internal committee, said Kedia, who is also a trainer at companies on PoSH legislation.