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Nandana (Nil)     24 June 2014

Harassment at workplace, illegal witholding my certificates

Hi

I was employed with a reputed school as secretary to the principal from 6th jan 2014 to 8th march 2014. I was on a probationary period for 1 year. This is the first academic year of the school. During the end of jan i got to know that i was pregnant for 5 weeks. As i did not want to lose this job opportunity, i decided to terminate my pregnancy after discussing this matter with my family and my principal. With the prior permission from the principal i underwent the pregnancy termination procedure on 5th of march. During my tenure i have availed 5 days leave for consulting my doctor and mtp procedure after intimating my principal. On 7th march i joined my duties and on 8th, i was conveyed by the principal and the hr, that i was "medically unfit" to handle this job and my leaves are not acceptable to the management.. Also, the principal conveyed to me that, i might get pregnant again and the school operations will be affected. Hence they forced me to resign. As i was very much satisfied with my job i refused to resign. They told me that the institution does not give any termination letter to the employees and harassed me throughout 3 days to resign. They did not pay my salary from february month and have with held my post graduation certificates till date. I requested them several times to give my certificates back as i was losing out on other job opportunities. They are forcing me to resign. 

When i joined they never mentioned about my leave limitations and nothing is mentioned in my appointment letter about the leave system.

I approached state womens commision, they acted upon my complaint and sent a letter to the school to form a complaint committee and sort my issues and send them the report. They also sent a letter to the district officer, education department. No response from both till now. Its almost 3 months now and 3 days back when i approached womens commission, to know the status, they told me that this is a civil case  and therefore they have certain limitations to take action against the school. They suggested me to file a fir against the school for illegally with holding my certificates. I approached the police station to lodge a fir but i was sent back saying that i need to approach the education department and puthforth my grievances... i had earlier addressed my issue, in written, to the chairman of cbse board, i was told that they cannot take any action against the school because they have to file for affiliation and they too suggested me to approach state education board... 

 

I will now approach the education department and top goverment officials for the injustice and humiliation meted out to me. I am pretty sure that these corrupt officials will try to escape from this situation and i will be left with no solution. Yet, i want to experience the heights of incompetency of the officials who claim to protect womens rights, womens welfare, women empowerment... in this 21st century of modern india, there still prevails discrimination against women. Where the hell is women empowerment ?? 

Simultaneously, I am ready to fight a legal battle against the school irrespective of number of years it might take to get my certificates and salary, also for the unfair practice and injustice against a woman. Could anyone pls let me know whether process i followed to get the justice from the above mentioned departments was right ? Are they correct in denying my case? What should be my next course of action? 



Learning

 9 Replies

Dr J C Vashista (Advocate)     25 June 2014

@Nandana,

Education is a state subject and governed by the provisions of State Education Act and State Education Rules.

Which State you are referring?

Whether the school  is government school, recognised  aided private school, recognised un-aided private school or private un-recognised un-aided school, as  the Act/Rules differ in each case?

Did you write to the Chairman and Principal of the School for redressal of your grievance including illegal withholding of certificates and salary?

Did you approach Director/Dy. Director for the harassment/ redressal of grievance?

Is there any similar other case in the school? If yes, what was the outcome?

The strategy and jurisdiction to entertain your case/suit will differ as per situatiion/inofrmations, engage a local lawyer, consult, seek guidence and advise and proceed.

Nandana (Nil)     25 June 2014

Respected Sir,

Thank you for taking time to review my case.

This school is located in Bangalore and is a branch of a school that is most sought after. This school is a franchise, private, un aided, cbse school yet to be affiliated, managed by a group which runs several institutions from many years.

I addressed my grievances to the principal and HR multiple times verbally as well as in writing. I requested them to give me a chance to appeal / represent my case to the appalette or a complaint committee, they denied saying that there is no such committee.

As this is the first academic year of the school, there are no such cases like mine. They claim that as per their rules, the management conveys their decision to the employee and ask them to resign. When i asked them to provide me the copy of HR manual, they refused to furnish the information saying that it is confidential...

 

 

Dr J C Vashista (Advocate)     26 June 2014

1. Apply for a copy of their Rules under Section 6 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, if provisons of RTI Act, 2005 (which I doubt) are applicable. 

2. I would sincerely advise you to engage a local lawyer, consult, seek guidence and advise and proceed.

T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Advocate)     26 June 2014

It is better to consult a local lawyer conversant with the labor laws and proceed as per his advise.

Kumar Doab (FIN)     27 June 2014

 

You may consult lawyer specializing in Labor Law/Service Matters, criminal law.

Pregnancy does not warrant Termination/Resignation.

Did you record (audio/visual) or submit minutes covering demand of termination of pregnancy, resignation?

 

Forcing to resign can be termed offence and deemed termination.

You may also get in touch with employee's unions, Trade union leaders e.g. CITU, INTUC, AITUC,..................

Is it stated in appointment letter issued to you  that service conditions shall be governed by ..........................say HR Manual? If yes it has to be supplied along with appointment letter itself.

It is NO Confidential document. It does not contain maps of the border of the nation.  

Your educational certificates are your property and employer can't have any lien on it.

There are threads indicating that an ASI/Havaldar was sufficient to get the certificates back from employer.

 

https://www.lawyersclubindia.com/forum/details.asp?mod_id=88472&offset=1#.Unu2RPuo1oo

 

However the complaint should be carefully drafted and full report should be obtained thru RTI so as to use it at appropriate time in appropriate forum.

 

The service conditions advocated by CBSE clearly stipulate that original certificates can not be withheld.   

 

AFFILIATION BYE –LAWS

V. Withdrawal of Affiliation 17-18

 

10. Staff and Service Conditions

 

8. The Management of the schools shall not retain the original degree/diplomas certificates of the

teachers and other employees of the school with them. The original certificates etc. taken for

verification shall be returned at the earliest after verification. Photostate copies may be obtained

from the employees and kept in their personal files. .

9. Check gender specific violence, strictly comply with the guidelines and norms prescribed by

the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the writ petition (Criminal) no. 666-70 of 1992 Vishaka

and others V /s State of Rajasthan and others delivered on 13-8-1997 for protection of women

from s*xual harassment at the work place.

 

 

You should certainly go thru State Education Act and meet School Employee’s Union Leaders too………….

Nandana (Nil)     27 June 2014

I really appreciate you all for taking time to review my case and suggest me future course of action.

 

@Mr. Kumar Doab, thank you for your kind advise. 

As for the proof, i have all mails containing recap of the discussion, addressed to the principal and the management, for which they have not replied.  (Sent from my official id)

Also, i have the written acknowledgement signed by them stating that they have my certificates.

The school is not yet affiliated to cbse as this is the first academic year. As it is a new school, there is no union. 

I will approach the labour officials and at the same time engage a lawyer with immediate effect.

Thanks again.

 

Kumar Doab (FIN)     28 June 2014

You don't have to wait for the school employees to form union.

There are state level, national level school employees unions that you can find by your own efforts at Bangalore...............................

By now you know that CBSE can  grant and cancel the affiliation too..................

 

Being a Secretary you may get covered as 'Workman' as in ID Act...........................and being a establishment for profit the School might be covered as Commercial Establishment under Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act and you may be covered as 'Employee' as defined in the Act...................................   

 

Approach the Lawyers with all docs on record.

Do you have any evidence showing that Principle asked you to terminate the pregnancy or that you can get pregnant again and can not be employed or that resignation was demanded from you and at a practice resignation is extracted from employees in line with some policy of the school?

If yes share it with your lawyers and your lawyers would know how to proceed further.

Sandeep Hegde(89 717 84 550) (Advocate)     30 July 2014

It's illegal to withhold educational certificate.  You can file police complaint for illegally holding your certificate.

 

You can approach labour court to claim your salary.

 

Please feel to contact me for further assistance on this.

 

Thanks and regards,

 

Sandeep Hegde

Advocate

Bangalore


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