Sexual Harassment at Infosys

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG022
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1999 - 2001
Pub. Date : 2002
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Infosys
Industry : Information Technology
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Phaneesh vs. Infosys - Round II

At the press conference, Narayana Murthy, Nilekani and Mohandas Pai (among others), made public the entire sequence of events in the case. Firstly, Narayana Murthy made it very clear that Phaneesh was very much a party to the settlement deal and that he had signed the documents himself.

Also, Infosys had reserved the right to proceed against him for his conduct and for the fact that he did not contribute financially to the settlement. Nilekani said that Phaneesh had first mentioned the lawsuit to him in January 2002, portraying it as a very minor issue.

Recollecting the events, Nilekani said, "He told me he was innocent and that the charge was without merit, and the company was not at risk. He did not tell me anything else about the relationship or the other matters of things being filed against the company." However, when the issue became more serious in June 2002 and Infosys was served a legal notice, the company's board stepped in...

Business Ethics Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Ethics, Case Studies

Infosys Moves On

At the press conference, Narayana Murthy did not answer a question about the fact that Reka did not seek redressal of her grievances through the company's internal systems. However, his refusal to answer did not necessarily mean that the company's internal systems were still not equipped to handle such problems.

In fact, Infosys had taken several measures to strengthen its grievance redressal procedures and had designed and implemented an effective sexual harassment policy. Narayana Murthy said, "The litigation is behind us. We have taken further steps to strengthen our internal processes and improve the checks and balances to handle similar situations." Mohandas Pai added, "We have conducted several training programs, widened the dissemination of information and met employees on this issue." Infosys conducted a course for all its officers and members (in India as well as abroad) on sexual harassment and the importance of being sensitized about the issue. The code of conduct provided in the employee manual was modified in line with the above decision...

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Lessons to be Learned

Though out-of-court settlements were the norm for most workplace sexual harassment suits the world over, it clearly was not the best solution. Instead of addressing the problem, this solution simply paid off the victim, so that the accused could walk away. The larger issue of the emotional, physical and financial damage caused to the victim, could be dealt with only if strict policies and guidelines regarding sexual harassment were established by the companies (Refer Exhibit I for a note on preventing sexual harassment at the workplace)...


Exhibit I: Guidelines to Handle Sexual Harassment at Workplace


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