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Case Details

Case Code: BECG149
Case Length: 13 Pages 
Period: 2013 - 2014    
Pub Date: 2017
Teaching Note: Available
Price:Rs.300
Organization : Tehelka
Industry : Media
Countries : India
Themes: Business Ethics/ Gender  / Organizational Behavior  
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A Sexual Harassment Complaint and the Fallout

Won the 2017 Dark Side Case Award organized by Critical Management Studies division of Academy of Management, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
 

ABSTRACT

 
In November 2013, the managing editor of Indian weekly news magazine Tehelka, Shoma Chaudhury (Shoma), was shocked when she received an e-mail from her subordinate and woman journalist, Nina, accusing Tarun Tejpal (Tarun), founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka, of sexually assaulting her on two occasions during THiNK Fest 2013. In the e-mail, the victim provided a detailed and graphic account of the alleged sexual assault and demanded an official written apology from Tarun, an acknowledgement of the assault to be circulated among the staff and bureau of Tehelka, and the setting up of an anti-sexual harassment cell at Tehelka to probe the matter.

Though known for her feminist leanings, Shoma’s handling of the situation came in for severe criticism from various quarters, with critics calling her response legally questionable, inadequate, and flawed. She was criticized for her delay in setting up an independent committee to look into the matter and for allegedly trying to cover up the issue. In fact, she faced more criticism than Tarun, the perpetrator of the assault. According to Shoma, her integrity was subsequently repeatedly questioned by people from her fraternity and by the public at large. Defending herself, she said her actions were based on solidarity and feminist principles. Eventually, Shoma resigned 10 days into the crisis. The case allows for the discussion of key questions, such as – Was Shoma made a scapegoat by the media? What was at stake for her? Were her actions justified? What could she have done differently?
 
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Issues

The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:
  • Understand issues and challenges related to the issue of sexual misconduct at the workplace that manifest as sexual harassment.
  • Identify perpetrator resources and strategies used for sexual misconduct.
  • Examine actions to be taken when an employee experiences any kind of sexual harassment at the workplace; and
  • Recognize the need to implement norms to prevent sexual harassment in organizations.
Contents
INTRODUCTION
ABOUT TEHELKA AND ITS FOUNDER
SHOMA CHAUDHURY
NINA’S COMPLAINT
SHOMA’S RESPONSE
TARUN’S RETORT
NINA RESIGNS
SHOMA’S DEPARTURE
EXHIBITS

Keywords

Business ethics, Gender, Sexuality in the workplace, Sexual harassment, Power; Leadership; Organizational behavior; Corporate governance; Critical Management, Dark side

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