The anxiety of job seeking, the joy of an interview done right and the thrill of your first pay check are all rendered void if you’re faced with a tyrant of an employer. Bagging the seemingly perfect job was just the beginning of the nightmare for these Puneites..
Riddhi Bohra talks about working for an education start-up, where the founder happened to be an alcoholic. “He was a terrible despot when he was off his juice. Fridays and Saturdays were bearable because we all knew he was getting his pre-weekend fix. However, the entire team at work was terrified Monday through Thursday waiting for the next outburst.
“Apart from doing unpaid overtime, we were called to office in the middle of the night and expected to be present. Failure to comply led to immediate sacking,” she laments.
Abdullah Nasir is a certified tax accountant today who speaks of his days of C.A. articleship. “It was the three-year period when all chartered accountancy students have to intern at a firm. I worked under a sole proprietor, who was allowed just one intern. So I found myself well and truly stuck, as I was in a three-year bond with a miserable stipend of 500 rupees per month.
“The real ordeal came in the form of abuses my boss swung at me. It was least expected because she was a lady. However, right from questioning my manhood, to saying terrible things about my parents, she was quite verbally abusive.
Voicing his inability to report the issue, Abdullah says, “I had to take it all quietly, because she could simply refuse to give me an articleship completion certificate at the end of 36 months if she willed it.
He admits that it was mentally very draining and stressful because he couldn’t confide in anyone. “Guys would just poke fun at me for being harassed by a woman,” he explains.
Cases of verbal abuse are not limited to male employees, as Sonam Karnik speaks of her ordeal. “I’m a marketing manager for a company that offers soft skills training to students in premier institutes of the country. The company head is a man who saw to my hire personally promising me a great work culture.
“But he swiftly transitioned into an abusive boss who swore at me and other employees. I think the main problem is that the entire staff totalled thirteen. This meant there was no human resources department, no one to handle harassment accusations- nothing. How could we take our problems to the perpetrator!?,” she questions angrily admitting that she was declared an impractical cost to the company and given the sack without any notice period.
Employers word ‘At-will employment’ in employment contracts to skirt the mandatory notice period. Adding to this are the fact that laws against non-sexual workplace harassment are far from stringent.
Probably it is time for A ‘Right to Dignity at Workplace’ bill protecting employees from mental harassment at work.
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