Here's a word of caution for bosses in BPOs and other outsourcing firms with graveyard shifts: take care of your employees’ security or get into trouble in something bad happens to them. Here’s why.
The Supreme Court has allowed the prosecution of Hewlett Packard’s managing director for failing to provide adequate security and transport to one of the firm’s BPO employees in Bangalore who was raped and killed by a cab driver hired by her office. The brutal murder, in December 2005, had shocked the country, which has thousands of youngsters working in the outsourcing industry.
The employee was on way to her workplace for a late-night shift when her cab driver took her to a secluded place and brutally assaulted her.
A couple of weeks later, Bangalore’s police chief had written to the labour commissioner stating that adequate security was not provided to the employee during her travel from home to workplace.
A bench of justices HK Sema and Markandeya Katju upheld the Karnataka High Court’s order dismissing Hewlett Packard official Som Mittal’s plea to quash a lower court order. The metropolitan magistrate had earlier initiated his prosecution, taking note of the lapse in security.
There are hundreds of outsourcing firms in the national capital region, particularly in Gurgaon and Noida, where employees work in late-night shifts. The firms are required to seek exemption from the respective state governments to put women employees on night shifts. For this, proper security and transportation to women employees is a pre-requisite.