From sensitivity to sensationalism, the RK Pachauri case has been a potboiler of sorts. But it has very rightfully highlighted the issue of high-profile gender injustice. It will go a long way in establishing gender equality in the workplace!
Sexual Harassment Charges Against RK Pachauri; Salute To The Whistleblowers!
RK Pachauri had been heading TERI (The Energy and Research Institute) since 1982. In 2016, two women employees cried foul play. The alleged sexual harassment charges against the invincible Pachauri brought him in the eye of the storm.
No doubt, it takes guts to be the whistleblower. Moreover, when the victim picks up cudgels against a high-profile perpetrator of crime.
After that, a few recent developments, in this case, have made it all the more an eyeball catching high octane drama.
Sequence of events that made the RK Pachauri case controversial:
The RK Pachauri case snowballed into a controversial boulder over time. This is how things unfolded:
A woman employee alleged sexual harassment against RK Pachauri.
Even as this case was sub judice, TERI controversially promoted RK Pachauri to the post of a Chairman. It technically meant that Pachauri would deliberate on his case.
There was a widespread public outcry in full media glare. Anyone could smell foul play from this act of brazenness!
Even women’s rights organizations joined hands with the media.
In the meantime, another female employee alleged sexual harassment against RK Pachauri.
All this worked against the already bleeding reputation of TERI as well as its Chairman RK Pachauri.
TERI’s Panic-driven Damage Control
The biggest folly of the institute lay in promoting Pachauri. So, it had to do some damage control.
The Governing Council of TERI, therefore, asked RK Pachauri to go on an indefinite leave. It was done to try and patch their already tarnished reputation.
While this was more of a whitewashing effort, it helped the victims passively. It strengthened their stand. It was also a baby step against gender injustice and sex crimes at the workplace.
Damage Control Consolidation By The Governing Council of TERI
The Governing Council took quick decisions which were actually for the female workforce. These were:
The Governing Council of TERI sent RK Pachauri on an indefinite leave.
Pachauri was also banned from all TERI organizations pending final decision on the sexual harassment charges leveled against hi.
It then consolidated this step by appointing Ashok Chawla as the new Chairman.
Chawla was the former Union Finance Secretary and the former Chairman of the Competition Commission. He has a clean, professional track record.
The Council also issued an official statement. The statement proclaims its resolve to protect the rights and interests of its female employees.
Finally, justice is coming to play even though the law will take its own course.
The Governing Council has finally been bold enough in its ouster decision against Pachauri. Also, its statement about protecting the rights of its women employees is cautiously worded. It upholds the dignity of its female workforce.
It means a lot in an organization where 33% of the workforce is female. Also, 14 of their 30 directors are women.
Hopefully, this will be a positive step towards establishing and consolidating gender equality in the workplace.