In this competitive world, workplace harassment has become a common threat to employees. This problem plagues both the private and public sectors. Many studies have depicted that about 50% of women are experiencing harassment at the workplace. Most people believe that harassment in a professional grid can only be sexual. But the fact lies somewhere else as harassment also includes mental, verbal, etc.

Harassment could be based on the race, religion, sex, social and economic status of a person. Many women suffer humiliation, and defamations regularly at the workplace from their superiors or colleagues.

Unfortunately, only a few of them defy reporting to the law. Fear of losing the job is the main reason why the victims keep themselves silent. Harassment is a common procedure in many organizations where senior officials harassed their subordinates mentally, verbally, and sometimes physically. It ruins the physical and mental health of a person. The intensity of the harassment rises when the victim is seen as being weak or without the courage to step up. In many cases, the victims commit suicide after realizing their helpless situation.

Recently, one such shocking incident happened in Kerala where an office assistant committed suicide in the Land Revenue Commissionerate at Thiruvanathapuram. She committed suicide after being constantly harassed by five colleagues. Her issues started in her office, with her senior and a female coworker who had targeted her long back. These two ladies mentally harassed her and at times resorted to physical torture like beating her on the arm, face, and chin. She had been isolated and often made fun of by them in the office. She had complained many times to the concerned authorities. Instead of taking action, she had been told that she would be suspended. Moreover, another male colleague threatened to kill her. She might have thought of suicide only because she had fought the maximum and failed. All these incidents had been written by her in her personal diary as a suicide note.

Unfortunately, there is no specific law which enacts to deal with mental harassment in the workplace. But there are some laws that help the victims, like Section 500 in the Indian Penal Code Punishment for defamation.—Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with a fine, or with both. Apart from this, there are a lot of HR and Labour Laws that help the employees to fight for their rights.

So, If you are a victim of mental harassment at the workplace, you should report to the police immediately. Moreover, save physical evidence as much as possible like threatening comments/notes, voice clips, video clips, etc. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to others.  You can seek the support of co-workers. Nowadays, a lot of NGOs are working for the welfare of women. They can provide you legal as well as mental support. Furthermore, seek legal guidance too because a lawyer can provide you specific advice depending on the circumstances of harassment.

People who are witnessing such grievous matters should never ignore the victim. Listen to them and offer full support. Having a supportive colleague nearby could help to reduce the instances of unnatural deaths.

It is high time to ensure a healthy work environment for the employees especially females in every sector to give a sound and peaceful environment for the workforce. Employees need a work environment that uplifts their mental and psychological health rather than sabotaging them with grievous wounds. No kinds of discrimination should be entertained in the workplace and must be answered such calls with strict steps to safeguard the interest and lives of the harassed employees. In short, a working scenario must incorporate professionalism, working skills, official abilities and must prohibit all kinds of harassment.

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Director at Onatt Tech Pvt. Ltd. Corporate Trainer, Research Analyst and Relationship Coach

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