Maintaining the workplace ethics has become a challenge in the contemporary corporate scenario. The report presents a scenario of an advertising firm of Australia where many women faced sexual harassment from the branch manager of the firm. The name of the person was Morgan Freeman. He delivered an inappropriate behaviour that can rightly said as sexual harassment in the workplace. Many women faced this inside the organization itself. His activities were more dominant while the company had to organize an advertisement shoot and during the promotional events. The matter was elevated to CNN later when it turned out into a serious event. The matter became more serious when a young production assistant, named Clara was harassed by him over a period of months. She was working in one of the leading project of the company and it was then that she was targeted by him. She accused Freeman of touching her repeatedly. He was accused of resting his hands on the back of her body without seeking her permission. He was found to make frequent comments about her on her appearance. He even tried to lift her skirt and commented about her dress continuously. Clara commented in her argument that even while working in the office, Freeman made use of vulgar terms in order to give her compliments. When she complained about this to the CEO, her feedback was recorded but not steps were taken on it. The activities of Morgan increased day by day and he continued to misbehave with Clara. According to Clara she made him realize that she was not liking his activities and therefore she asked him not to repeat this. After this he stopped his activity of misbehaving for few days but after some days he started to do the same.
Clara complained about this further to the Managing Director. A session was taken with Freeman but it was of no worth. He continued his misdeeds and this time more girls became his victims. He was accused of making lustful comments about the clothing of many girls and figure on a daily basis. He made sexually inappropriate comments. The CNN had a talk with 16 people once the incident was elevated and it was found that out of the 16 people 8 girls spoke against him and they were his victims. His actions caused great discomfort to the women of the organization. The organization faced a bad reputation for him. The clients refused to give the contracts to the organization because of the bad reputation it had in the market. In spite of this the organization took no big step against Freeman. He violated the policies of the GVV framework. Clara remarked that the problem lied in the fact that the company did not follow the guidelines of the GVV Framework. Clara raised her voice in against the unethical practice that was experienced by her. In the initial stage she was confused and faced the dilemma of how to highlight the problem. She was not supported by the organization in which she worked. This incident turned out to be a trauma for her later. She was afraid of the presence of Freeman. Coming to the office turned out to be a burden for her. Rather it was disturbing for her to come to the office. Freeman was good at his work and he was important for the company. This was the reason she was reluctant to report about his misdeeds to the management. She was going through a dilemma. She even found herself odd to share this with her colleagues. However when she shared this with her female colleagues she came to know that she was not the only one who faced the misdeeds. It was then that she got the confidence of reporting about the unethical activities of the manager. Her dilemma did not end here. Rather this was the starting of her dilemma. The situation grew worse when she complained about this to her supervisors and even to the directors and yet there was no solution to this. She expected that the company would at least suspend him but her expectations were not fulfilled and this is where she faced the difficulty. She could see her culprit not bothering about the issues raised against him and he continued with his activities. This was the moment when she thought of doing something that could solve her problem permanently. However she had no concrete plans in her mind that could make her out release her from this situation.
Background of the script: the central character of the script is Clara. The script is based on an interview that was taken by the interviewer on the violation of the ethical practice that was experienced by Clara and how she claimed justice by applying the GVV Framework. The interview has been conducted to present the ethical dilemmas in the workplace and the stakeholders who are responsible for the unethical act.
Interviewer: What were the problems that you faced in the organization?
Clara: I faced the problem of sexual harassment in the organization.
Interviewer: How did it start? When did you realize that you faced such problem?
Clara: Initially I had no problem inside the organization but slowly I faced the uncomfortable behaviour from Mr Freeman. It was increased day by day. He started touching me without my permission. The most irritating part was when he touched me in private parts and situation got worse when once he tried to lift my skirt. This behaviour was seen more when our company had to go for promotional advertisement shoots and had to conduct some outdoor projects.
Interviewer: what was your next step?
Clara: I was confused as I could not believe that these things were actually happening to me in this organization. Initially I was reluctant to raise a complaint against him to the management. I thought no one would believe me. This is the reason this things went on for few months. I was facing the dilemma of whether to report this or not. My first step to make myself comfortable was to share this with my female colleagues. It was then that I came to know that I was not the only victim. There were many other female employees in the organization who faced the same behaviour.
Interviewer: Finally what did you do?
Clara: I finally complained about this to the chief executive officer of the organization.
Interviewer: So, did you get any help from that?
Clara: Initially I thought that it would be helpful and I would get rid of this situation. He was called by the HR of the organization for a session. I thought he would be suspended for few days for his activities. I was disappointed to know that this was not the case. He had to attend the session where the HR department just made him understood and asked him not to repeat it.
Interviewer: So he stopped assaulting you after that?
Clara: Actually not. After the session I expected that I would not have to face the situation again. It was under control for few days. Soon after few days he started repeating his activities. He was not bothered about the complaints that were made by me. He passed on few vulgar terms that he said he considers to be light-hearted. He defended himself by saying that his intention was to give compliment and not to hurt anyone.
Interviewer: So you thought of doing something then or you gave up?
Clara: things were getting worse and this made me more insecure inside the organization. It was not possible for me to work under such situation. I did not give up and this time I escalated the matter to the manager director of the company. I mailed him directly and later I was called by him in his cabin and it was then that I explained the entire matter to him. He seemed to be annoyed o hearing the incident and he ensured that he would take effective steps against it.
Interviewer: So your problem was solved?
Clara: Unfortunately not. After few days I was asked for some proof of the incident. This was disheartening for me. It was not possible for the person who was going through such traumatized situation to hunt for proof of the incident. However I asked the other female employees of the organizations who had the similar experience to send a mail complaining about him which would serve as a witness.
Interviewer: Did they respond to your request?
Clara: It was surprising for me when I found that no one was ready to take any action against him. The female employees who were his victim earlier did not agree to open their mouth on this before the management. I tried to convince them but I was shocked to know that they had the fear of losing their jobs and this is the reason they would not open their mouths.
Interviewer: So what did you do next?
Clara: (smiling), I was shocked!!!!
Interviewer: I can understand what you went through. Being a female reporter I can understand what it feels like when you have to go through such a situation. Personally I am curious to know how you dealt the entire situation finally. I mean how could you make yourself detach from the organization?
Clara: It was a struggle in itself. After I got no response from the organization I decided to seek help from the external legal institutions. I lodge a complaint in the local police booth against Freeman. I had no other option but to do this.
Interviewer: Did you actually receive any help from there?
Clara: Finally yes.
Interviewer: Phewwww!!!! (Sign of relief)
Clara: Even I was able to get relief from the entire trouble.
Interview: So how did it all end?
Clara: The inspector made an investigation on the matter and the case got highlighted in the media as the company had a good reputation in the market and it was famous. Soon the other female employees saw the intervention of the cops into the matter they got the confidence and they narrated all their experiences to the cops. The organization had to suspend him for a month.
Interviewer: What do you think was the major cause behind this?
Clara: The organization did not train the employees in the field of maintaining the ethics. They were not made aware of the GVV framework where a person have the full right to raise the voice against the misdeeds. The organization did not paid attention to the ones who raised voice against the misdeeds that was occurring inside it. An effective training is required of this. As it is not possible for a person to give proof of such things. The person committing the crime might be careful enough to commit the crime in those areas where there is no CCTV camera and there is no witness of the incident.
The next participant of the interview is the manager of the company, Mr Freeman (the accused).
Interviewer: There are lot of complaints against you from almost 9 to 10 people from your organization. What do you have to say about this?
Freeman: I simply want to apologize to the ones whom I have hurt. My actions and my words are light-hearted. There is no undesired intention behind those.
Interviewer: So what about the cases like using vulgar words and pulling up the skirts of the girls?
Freeman: I might have joked which was taken in some other sense. I would like to apologize again for my actions.
Interviewer: Why were you suspended?
Freeman: Well, the cops in their investigations found me guilty and they compensated me. In order to save the reputation of the company, they took the decision to suspend me.
The interview continued with the other stakeholders like the CEO and the managing directors:
Interviewer: What do you have to say about the incident that happened?
CEO: There is nothing new to say about the incident. The background of the incident is already known to all. We already have taken the step we needed to take.
Interviewer: What made you to take the step after a long time?
Managing Director: Actually, Clara and Freeman, they both are our employee. We cannot take an instant decision based on the opinion of a single person. We have think about the pros and the conduits of the situation and take decision accordingly. After a successful investigation done by the cops we got a valid proof and therefore we could take the decision of suspending the culprit.
Interviewer: What steps you think you can take in order to avoid this kind of things in the future?
Managing Director: We have planned to give training to our employees on ethics. They should be aware of the GVV frameworks and we have planned to impart a regular training on that.
CEO: Apart from what sir (MD) said, we have planned to increase the amount of CCTV cameras and the surveillance will be done strictly than before.
Interviewer: Don’t you think the safety of the female employees should be increased?
Managing Director: Yes, Our organization already have ethics policies that safeguards the modesty of the female employees. Outraging the modesty of a women has severe penalties in our organization. The other thing we have planned is hiring a team that will take care of this issues and will take effective measures to maintain the ethics inside the organization. We will work hard to avoid this type of problems inside the organization.
The interview therefore ends with this.
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