Case Study 3 (2023/250 Words)

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At 9 pm on Saturday evening, Rashika, a Joint Secretary, was still engrossed in her work in her office. Her husband, Vikram, is an executive in an MNC and frequently out of town in connection with his work. Their two children aged 5 and 3 are looked after by their domestic helper. At 9:30 pm her superior, Mr. Suresh calls her and asks her to prepare a detailed note on an important matter to be discussed in a meeting in the Ministry.

She realises, that she will have to work on Sunday to finish the additional task given by her superior. She reflects on how she had looked forward to this posting and had worked long hours for months to achieve it. She had kept the welfare of people uppermost in discharging her duties. She feels that she has not done enough justice to her family and she has not fulfilled her duties in discharging essential social obligations.

Even as recently as last month she had to leave her sick child in the nanny’s care as she had to work in the office. Now, she feels that she must draw a line, beyond which her personal life should take precedence over her professional responsibilities. She thinks that there should be reasonable limits to the work ethics such as punctuality, hard work, dedication to duty and selfless service.

(a) Discuss the ethical issues involved in this case.

(b) Briefly describe at least four laws that have been enacted by the Government with respect to providing a healthy, safe and equitable working environment for women.

(c) Imagine you are in a similar situation. What suggestions would you make to mitigate such working conditions?

(a) Ethical Issues Involved:

  1. Work-Life Balance: Struggle between professional commitments and personal responsibilities.
  2. Duty to Family vs. Professional Obligations: Prioritizing between job responsibilities and family welfare.
  3. Workplace Ethics and Expectations: The ethical dilemma of how much an employer can reasonably demand from an employee.
  4. Mental Health and Well-being: The impact of prolonged work hours on mental health and overall well-being.

(b) Laws for a Healthy, Safe, and Equitable Working Environment for Women:

  1. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Amendment 2017): Provides maternity leave benefits.
  2. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013: Safeguards against sexual harassment.
  3. The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976: Ensures equal pay for equal work.
  4. The Factories Act, 1948: Includes provisions for health and safety standards, especially for women.

(c) Mitigation Suggestions:

  1. Flexible Working Hours: Advocating for flexible working arrangements to balance work and personal life.
  2. Work from Home Options: Utilizing work from home to manage critical personal responsibilities.
  3. Time Management Training: Providing training for effective time management to increase efficiency.
  4. Employee Support Programs: Implementation of employee assistance programs for counseling and support services.

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