734 Sexual harassment Complaints received by Nifty companies in FY20
Complaints under the prevention of sexual harassment (PoSH) law at India’s leading companies continued to prevail at near-record levels last fiscal year after hitting a record high in FY19.The Nifty-50 companies reported receiving 734 complaints in FY20, a tad lower than the 741 complaints they received in the preceding year according to a analysis done by Economic Times Intelligence Group and published in ET.
The last five years’ trend could give a sense that the complaints are peaking out. However, many companies still don’t recruit enough women for a clear conclusion to be drawn on this front.
To be sure, high number of women employees and good corporate governance standards in a company lead to more women coming forth and complaining of harassment.
Among the Nifty companies, those reporting highest number of sexual harassment complaints are the ones with better diversity ratios such as IT majors Wipro, TCS and Infosys where more than one-third of employees are women.
Companies with the high number of sexual harassment complaints also often have high ESG (environmental, social and governance) scores. For instance, Wipro with the highest number of complaints has an ESG score of 59 as per data from Bloomberg. Similarly, Dr Reddy’s Labs with the highest complaints in the pharma sector has an ESG score of 58.
Post-Covid, the harassment has turned online. Experts point out instances ranging from making repeated friend requests on social media platforms and sending objectionable text messages to calling at unusual hours under the pretext of official purpose and sharing inappropriate images or sexist messages on office team groups.