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Ask Mx Conduct: I Ignored When My Boss Called Me 'Beta', Now He Calls Me 'Sweetoo'

Image for representative purpose only.

Image for representative purpose only.

A workplace expert will answer your questions on what's making you uncomfortable at work, what should you do if you're at the receiving end of discrimination, bias, differential treatment at work, and more.

Addressing some very common yet trivial dilemmas that individuals face in workplaces through the following four queries that will create a better understanding of how workplaces are (should be) evolving for all of us.

My company tells me that I can be reimbursed the money for my cab rides. But my roommate says that the law requires them (the company) to provide me with transport which should also have a guard. I asked my company and they said that the law is not clear on this so they are giving me reimbursement and I should be thankful.

Women’s safety is prioritised in the eyes, and under the ambit of the law. It is imperative that a company provides a safe travel and transport mechanism for the women in its workforce. In some states, the rules mandate that an escort must be present in the cabs provided by the company. So yes, as per law, you can ask for them to arrange a cab for your regular travels. However, I recommend having a conversation with the organization and getting them to understand this properly. Sometimes it is difficult for people to understand how a vetted cab service provider is safer than the random cabs that you will end up booking on your own. It is about money, but it is more about safety.

My company has just formed the POSH committee. I also just got to know through the awareness activities that I can reach out to them. When I did, they told me that since the incident happened last year, it has crossed the three months time limit. How is it my fault? Where do I go now?

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Well, you go back to your HR or POSH Committee and tell them that it was their fault for not forming the committee by January of 2014. As per one of the judgments (which was on similar grounds) the Courts also mandate the companies that as and when they have formed the committees, any case which has happened in its absence should and will be taken up.

I have been chasing a client for some time now and in between dodging the numerous suggestions of dinners and whatsapp conversations. My boss is now telling me to engage in whatever that this client wants and just close the deal. I told them what the client wants and they said do it. Where do I go now?

Is this not harassment?

This is definitely harassment. This is one of the many subtle ways in which sexual harassment manifests at the workplace where folks, under the garb of power and pressure from their seniors, are made to deliver on work targets no matter what. Despite knowing what is being asked of you by the client, if your senior is pushing you for it, you should not only raise a complaint against this client (with their company or yours) but also against your senior. While the company may not be able to do much about the client, your senior can definitely use some lessons on responsible team leadership and work ethics.

My boss randomly calls me with endearing names. I was okay with “bachcha” and “beta” but now they have become “sweetheart” and “sweetoo”. Am I thinking too much? I am being told to ignore and just focus on the work.

If you are thinking about it, then it is bothering you. If it bothers you then you should know that YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL THIS WAY. You have been given a name, an official name which people should use when addressing you at work. There is nothing wrong in approaching your boss and telling them the same. There are three things that can happen – they may accept this feedback and fix their ways, they may reject this feedback and continue with their behaviour, or they may turn hostile because of your feedback. I would suggest talking to them and if the third happens then reach out to someone senior and sensible in your organization from the HR or another department. Let there be a mediator. My good wishes to you with this one. But if you manage to change their ways, perhaps that is all that was required, for someone to tell them and educate them.

Workplaces are becoming more and more diverse day by day. Our conduct with each other needs revisiting to make it inclusive of all kinds of mindsets and personas. If there is something that is bothering you and troubling you at work, for which you do not know what to do- write to us at pallavi@ungender.in and let us help you through it. You can also tweet to us @news18dotcom your queries with #AskMxConduct.

Powered by Ungender and answered by its Founder, Pallavi Pareek, every Saturday, we will be answering questions on your workplace worries.

first published:February 27, 2021, 11:34 IST