Rukmini Sen’s Claims ‘One-Sided, Unfairly Malicious’: India Today
The former employee had taken to Twitter alleging lack of action by India Today after a sexual harassment complaint.
Two days after former India Today employee Rukmini Sen took to social media alleging misbehaviour by a senior official, and subsequent lack of cognisance by the group, the media house on Tuesday, 9 October, put out a statement rubbishing the claims.
Sen had, in her Facebook post, alleged that the group had taken over a year to form a complaints committee, which, when formed, was “half-baked”. She acknowledged that she refused to appear in front of the “fake committee".
Meanwhile, the group’s counter-statement detailed the sequence of events post Sen’s resignation in 2012, which is when she claimed she was verbally abused by her department head.
Sen resigned as the Entertainment editor on 3 November 2012 and had appeared for an exit interview with Prasad on 5 November, when she was subject to a discussion that was “offensive and humiliating”.
On the same night, she supposedly sent a mail to Aroon Purie, detailing her exit interview, and sent reminder about the same the next day.
After Purie acknowledged her mail on 7 November, an investigation was reportedly carried out by the group’s legal and HR department. Both parties – Sen and Prasad –were asked to submit their statements.
Following this, an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) was formed by the group. However, Sen raised her objections with the constitution of the Committee, and her changes were accepted, the company claimed. According to the statement, the committee had 5 members, of which three were female and one was an external member – as per The Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, 2013.
India Today’s statement claims that Sen refused to appear at the hearings, despite eight notices having been sent. Ultimately, the Committee’s final order, passed on 14 January 2014, read:
“... after carefully perusing the material on record i.e. the complaint of the Complainant, and the statement of Mr. Supriya Prasad, it is opined that the Complainant has failed to substantiate her allegations, and no act of sexual harassment has been made out from the records. In view of the aforesaid finding, the complaint is hereby dismissed.”
According to the statement, the group took every possible step to address Sen’s complaint, and Sen’s allegations were “one-sided” and “unfairly malicious” towards the company.
Addressing sexual harrassment allegations that had surfaced on social media with regard to other employees in the company, the statement read:
“While, the Group empathises and is concerned about any survivor who has suffered the trauma of sexual harassment in any form or degree, the Group would like to clarify that none of these incidents were reported during the tenures of the Complainants or Respondents. Unfortunately, without incidents being brought to Management’s attention, it is not possible to take due action.”
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