Woman faculty member was verbally terminated from service
The Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women has directed Loyola College, Chennai, to immediately pay ₹64.3 lakh, with interest, to a senior woman faculty member, who was allegedly harassed by a Jesuit Father and verbally terminated from service.
The amount includes back wages, damages for mental agony and “unkind words of sexual harassment” and compensation for a false complaint.
“The Commission found that her track record was very good and there was no reason for terminating her service. It is very clear that Loyola College has abruptly stopped her from work deliberately,” said an order passed by Commission chairperson Kannegi Packianathan on December 22. “For the kind of trauma and physical and sexual abuse she has been submitted to, she has to be adequately compensated, expeditiously,” it said.
When contacted, a college spokesperson told The Hindu that the administration was deliberating on its future course of action in the wake of the order. The college would also wait for the judgment of the Madras High Court, where a related case was pending.
The complainant, who joined the college in 2010 after serving at a reputed private engineering college, had alleged that she was harassed by the Father between 2013 and 2014 when he was the director of the Alumni Association.
No termination letter
Subsequently, she was verbally asked not to come to college, without being served a termination letter.
“The college administration promised to recall her to work once the Father is transferred. But my mother was not called back,” her son told The Hindu on Monday.
As several complaints to the Loyola College Society did not yield any response, she moved the Madras High Court in 2016. In November this year, she also approached the Commission seeking wages for 81 months from April 2014 and compensation. Commission members visited the college on December 15 and conducted an inquiry.
The Commission noted that as per rules, the college has to inform the Directorate of Collegiate Education whenever a staff member is terminated.
But no such communication was sent; hence, her claim for salary arrears was not considered.
Ms. Packianathan noted that other issues surfaced during the inquiry. One was that the donations received from the old students should have been accounted for in a separate alumni funds account, but the Rector said these funds were maintained by the Loyola College Society.
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