When an employer trusts the employees, productivity improves exponentially. Make your employees happy with the work culture and you won’t need to make extra efforts to take care of your clients, your happy employees will take care of them. This is the true power of a good work culture. But this fact is often a myth for many workplaces, especially in the corporate sector. The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has added fuel to the risk of job security. It brought an era where even after pay cuts and limitless hours working from home, the employers had the guts to intimidate their employees to be thankful to even have a job at such uncertain times. Such traumatic experiences add to the degrading physical as well as the mental health of employees thereby becoming an obstacle in their personal and professional life. Is there a solution for such a toxic workplace and bosses? Let's find out the know-hows of complaint against mental harassment at workplace in India.
Before heading for a solution, it is always better to get into the roots of the problem and understand it. In general, harassment can be understood as an unwelcome action of one person causing humiliation to the other one being subjected to such behaviour. Sexual harassment and the laws addressing the same are known to all while mental harassment is something which is rarely talked about. Mental harassment may be in the form of words, actions or gestures which result in annoying, alarming, abusing, demeaning, intimidating, belittling, humiliating or embarrassing another. Given below are some examples of mental harassment in office:
Although instances of mental harassment at workplace by boss or co-worker do not end here, these are the usual behaviours which force an employee to succumb to depression due to a toxic workplace.
In India, mental health is something that is taken very casually and mostly ignored, which ends up as the biggest reason of suicides in the country. It's high time that people start talking about workplace harassment and help the victims around. If you are someone who is being subjected to mental harassment in government office or a private one, raising your voice against the wrong is important. Before that, it is better to know the law against mental harassment at workplace. The source of workplace harassment laws could be the central or state legislations or the office manual for such events. Moreover, if you are feeling uncomfortable working at an office and know that it's not a fault on your part but the boss, employer or a co-worker, it is always better to speak up than keeping mum.
A company or establishment incorporated which employs several employees has to follow certain statutory compliances. Such compliance guarantees timely wages, genuine work hours, bonus, insurance, etc. for the employees based on the kind of establishment they work for. Apart from being an employee, the Constitution of India, 1950 guarantees certain rights upholding the basic dignity of an individual through Articles 14, 15, 19, 21, 39A, etc. Article 39A particularly upholds the principle of equal pay for equal work. Other important provisions against workplace harassment are explained below:
After knowing the law against mental harassment at workplace in India, everyone has the same question, ‘How do I report harassment at work?’. A person must report mental harassment at workplace by boss or coworkers as per the organisational rules and regulations. A complaint letter against mental harassment at workplace to the Human Resources department may usually help. If there is no redressal to the matter, corporate lawyers in India may assist the victims legally. The solution on how do I write a letter of mental harassment complaint to HR is that it should address the right personnel and contain all the details of the repetitive incident, including evidence if possible.
It could be a mental harassment complaint to police in case of a serious offence. If provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 are invoked, police may be involved in the matter. If police take things petty and do not register a complaint, the workplace harassment victims must reach out to the magistrate.
Complaint against mental harassment at workplace can be made to the labour commissioners in case any rights under the labour laws are infringed.
The punishment for workplace harassment is not universal. It depends upon the act or behaviour which resulted in such harassment and also the degree of impact over the victim. IPC sections for mental harassment at workplace may drag such boss or coworker to jail. If you are someone in Kolkata and criminal laws seem to be applicable in your case, consultation with criminal lawyer in Kolkata is recommended before filing a mental harassment complaint to police. However, labour laws may only settle the matter through implication of fine over the employer for workplace harassment.
The answer to ‘what is mental harassment in the workplace?’ is different for different people. Someone may take sexual remarks as jokes and move on, while the other may be very sensitive to such stuff, end up with depression or suicidal thoughts. Hence, before uttering words targeting another, one should weigh their words. Someone working under your authority does not become your slave so that you can yell at them at anytime and forget that person who works for you is a human being, works for a limited time and has a life apart from work. Compassion can be the cessation to workplace harassment when we treat other people working for the same organisation with respect and dignity. In order to curb workplace harassment, strict policies should be framed by employers against mental harassment at workplace by boss or coworker. Complaint against mental harassment at workplace should be addressed sensitively and be concluded after weighing both sides of the coin.
 Consumer Education and Research Centre v. Union of India, (1995) AIR 922, 1995 SCC (3) 42.