NEW DELHI--After the woman researcher who accused climate scientist RK Pachauri of sexual harassment quit his think tank The Energy Research Institute (TERI) on Wednesday, accusing it of treating her "in the worst possible manner", the institute has released a statement to defend itself. In it, the organization has revealed identifying information about the 29-year-old researcher.
While claiming that the allegations are 'false and baseless', the institute in the statement also gave out the following details of the researcher--exact educational qualification, location of her house and the specific division at TERI she worked with and how long she worked there.
"We will be taking legal action against TERI for divulging details on her. Anyone can find out who she is," Prashant Mendiratta, the complainant's lawyer, told HuffPost India.
"This is extremely irresponsible. We are filing a suit against TERI for damages and see if a criminal complaint can be lodged," he added.
The woman researcher quit after she found the environment in TERI "hostile" following her complaint against the organisation head. "Your organisation has treated me in the worst possible manner. TERI failed to uphold my interests as an employee, let alone protecting them," she wrote in her resignation letter to Dinesh Varma, director of TERI's human resources department. "The organisation has instead protected RK Pachauri and provided him with full immunity, despite being held guilty of sexual harassment at the work place by your own inquiry committee," she said.
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In the statement, TERI says it wants the issued response to be published in media without any editing.
This is the statement from TERI. We have edited out any details of the complainant.
TERI has immense respect for the editorial fairness of the media. We hope that the response issued from TERI will help shed true light and remove many of the misconceptions and mis-representation that have been happening on the matter. We request that our response be published without arbitrary editing.
The complainant was allowed special leave with full pay and benefits for 90 days extra to her leave account for the period 18/02/2015 to 18/05/2015 in keeping with the provisions of the relevant Act. Subsequently, she was allowed to take leave with pay as admissible to her and as available in her leave account. This period ended on 26/05/2015 (forenoon) beyond which she preferred to stay on leave without pay. Please note that during this period the organization was not provided of any notification of whether and when she would like to resume work. Several reminders were sent to her, in response to which she has shown no inclination to resume work. In most organisations there is a time limit on the extent to which leave without pay is allowed. Since we did not receive any prior intimation, leave without pay started with immediate effect from 26th May 2015 until date of resigning.
It must also be mentioned that on 22/04/2015 the complainant wrote to TERI requesting permission to work from home. In TERI's response it was made clear to her that it was not the Institute's policy to allow working from home. In fact, even the Sexual Harassment Law does not provide any such privilege.
However, TERI says it made arrangements so that she can work close to her home.
TERI has already initiated the process of settlement of accounts consequent to her resignation. All the necessary processes and procedures are being followed as per the Institute's HR policy. TERI has already paid all her dues, except for Provident Fund which can be withdrawn or transferred to the new employer. The necessary actions required under both options have already been communicated to her.
We would like to humbly submit that the complainant's allegations are completely false and baseless.
In her resignation letter, the complainant has also alleged that the TERI's governing council "works for" Pachauri, under his instructions. She raised the matter that the DG has not been changed even though Pachauri's exit was announced in July.
She also alleged that her work profile at TERI was changed without explanation even though she requested it to remain the same. "I refuse to be associated with an organisation such as yours for the way you have mistreated me, for not standing by the law, for not having respect for my capabilities, for doing NOTHING to ensure that my career is not harmed and instead harmed me mentally, professionally and economically," she wrote to TERI.