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Air India chief warns staff: Will come down ‘heavily’ on sexual offenders

NEW DELHI: Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani has sent a stern warning to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the airline and those guilty of doing so will be very sternly dealt with. Lohani’s “zero tolerance” warning came days after an AI captain accused another instructor-commander of the same airline of harassment.

“It is shameful that sexual harassment cases are being often witnessed in Air India. We need to come down very, very heavily on such offenders,” says Lohani’s message to employees sent on Thursday.

This warning came after the woman captain’s complaint of being harassed on May 5, 2019, in Hyderabad during training by the instructor. AI has ordered a probe into the issue. TOI had front-paged this issue in its Wednesday (May 15) edition.

Read also: Pilot accuses Air India commander of harassment, probe ordered

AI ED (operations) captain R S Sandhu issued a circular on Thursday evening. “In the recent past, a shameful sexual harassment case has come to light, which is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. AI is committed to working environments that respect the inherent dignity of all persons, affording them the opportunity to reach their fullest potential and empowering them to deliver the best possible results for all the people that Air India serves,” captain Sandhu’s circular said.

“Every person has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to work in safe environments free from harassment, abuse, and discrimination. Every AI employee also has a corresponding responsibility to actively promote such an environment,” it adds.

“AI is committed to a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment. (that) will not be tolerated under any circumstances. This means that any reports of sexual harassment will be dealt with promptly, justly, sternly and heavily, in accordance with the applicable procedures of AI,” captain Sandhu warns.

In her complaint, the woman captain says the instructor reportedly suggested the two have dinner at a city restaurant after the training session was over in Hyderabad on May 5. “…He started with telling me how depressed and unhappy he was in his married life… He also asked me how I coped with my husband living away and whether I didn’t need to have sex everyday…. I told him I did not want to talk about all this and called a cab,” the complaint says.

Captain Sandhu’s circular says sexual harassment will include any of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour whether directly or by implication: physical contact and advances; a demand or request for sexual favours; making sexually coloured remarks; showing pornography and any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

News credit : Indiatimes