You are a male teacher in a private school. You have a family of five- you, your mother, your wife and two children. You barely manage your family with the salary that you get. After a lot of efforts you managed to get this job. You have a very good reputation in the school as a teacher and the Principal is impressed with your work. He has very good terms with you.
Recently, a female colleague of yours who is also a very good friend of yours comes to you and complains against the Principal of the school sexually molesting her. She is scared as what to do, whether to approach the internal complaints committee or not. Earlier also such allegations against the principal were reported but all went in vain. Instead of the Principal quitting the job, the employees who complained had quit their job. You knew it very well that the committee will prove the allegations wrong if she complains and the Principal will not be punished once again. Instead, she might have to face humiliation and might end up resigning from her job.
In such a situation how would you help your friend? What are the steps you will take? Will you choose to ignore the matter completely or will stay by her side?
This is indeed a situation of ethical dilemma. And it is also one of the common situations faced at any workplace. Most of these cases go unreported because there is no one to support the victims. Outraging a woman’s modesty is a criminal offence and should never go unpunished whosoever the person might be. Since you are a teacher and you know all of these very well, it is your duty to implement these without worrying much about the consequences.
First of all you should try to release the mental trauma that your colleague has undergone. You should appreciate her for the courage of telling the matter to you and ask her to be bold and face the situation instead of ignoring it.
The sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act gives the guarantee of gender equality, right to work with human dignity in the Articles 14, 15 19 and 21 of the Constitution and safeguards against sexual harassment. You should motivate your colleague that the crime will not go unpunished and that you will support her till the end.
In the attempt, you might lose your good terms with the principal and might also lose your job. It will be really tough for you and your family. But you should tell yourself that, it was always your hard work, sincerity and honesty that earned you a good reputation. And now, as a human being, it is your moral responsibility to support the friend in need. And what if your friend wins? Then your bravery will set an example for all other colleagues.
There should be no tolerance at all for such acts. Earlier also the Principal went unpunished. If the internal committee ignores the matter this time, then it should be taken to the police. That will deter him from committing such acts in future.
Finally, an alarm should be raised among all colleagues as well, to ensure that everyone is aware of the matter and the female colleagues distance themselves from the Principal.