Sexual harassment: Experts to help Air India create awareness
After eight cases of alleged sexual harassment were reported to its management in the first half of this year, national carrier Air India (AI) has teamed up with external experts to create awareness among its cabin crew and other staff members.
After organising a two-day training for some members of the staff in August, the airline is planning to hold such sessions for crew members.
“We do not take any sexual harassment case lightly. We treat every case seriously. Which is why I have personally attended the recent Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) training programme conducted by Be.artsy. I believe this is not just any subject, it a subject that is close to my heart,” said Ashwani Lohani, chairman and managing director, Air India.
The airline reported eight sexual harassment cases in the first half of this year, compared to 10 cases in 2018. In a recent case, an Air India pilot had alleged that a commander had sexually harassed her when they had travelled from Delhi to Hyderabad on May 5 for a training programme. The pilot had submitted a written complaint to the airline management in which she alleged that the accused called her to his room on the pretext of giving her some notes after training and offered to take her out for dinner and asked her questions that were of a personal nature.
On May 16 this year, Lohani told employees through a text message that sexual harassment cases are “often” being witnessed and the airline needs to come down “very very heavily” on such offenders. The message came after the airline announced on May 15 that it has set up a high-level inquiry to probe a sexual harassment complaint filed by the woman pilot against a senior captain.
After several cases of alleged sexual harassment were reported, Air India teamed up with Be.artsy, a social awareness enterprise, to raise awareness among its cabin crew on workplace sexual harassment and its prevention. “In delicate matters like addressing sexual harassment at the workplace, companies need more than classroom solutions. Victims of sexual harassment can face life-long negative impact psychologically. I am delighted that senior leaders like Mr Lohani have the zeal to remove sexual harassment at its root by focusing on prevention and effective redressal,” said Shikha Mittal, head of Be.artsy.
Around 3,000 cabin crew members of Air India will be covered in the first phase of the training. An Air India spokesperson said that after the two pilot training sessions held in August, the airline is in the process of deciding the dates for more such sessions.