Q.2 (b) In the context of work environment, differentiate between coercion and undue influence with suitable examples. (10m) – Theory
A work environment is the setting, social aspects, and physical conditions in which an individual performs their job.
There are two types of work environments:
- A positive work environment: Characterised by respect, diversity, and effective teamwork, It promotes productivity, creativity, and employee satisfaction.
- A negative workplace environment: It can cause stress, burnout, and low morale, which can impact individual and organisational performance.
A negative work environment is characterised by ‘coercion’ and ‘undue influence’. The difference between the two is as follows:
|Defined under Section 15 of Indian Contract Act, 1872.||Defined under Section 16 of The Indian Contract Act, 1872.|
|Coercion involves telling employees what to do and promises punishment if employees do not follow directives.||It refers to the influence by which a person is induced to act otherwise than by their own free will or without adequate attention to the consequences.|
|Use of Physical force or Psychological pressure.||Moral force or Mental pressure.|
|Focuses on immediate harm or danger.||Focuses on the exploitation of vulnerability.|
|E.x.- Shikha Mittal is a victim-turned-entrepreneur (be.artsy) who took sexual harassment at the workplace head-on.||Ex.-Tata Power Company Limited’s annual report 2022-23 indicates an upward trend in workplace discrimination related complaints from 4 in previous year to 5.|
|It is a criminal act and is penalised under the provisions of IPC.||Unlawful in nature yet not penalised under the IPC.|
Even in companies with a healthy work environment, some negative behaviour can slip through. To uphold the inherent dignity and worth of every employee, following proactive measures can be taken:-
- Establish clear Ethical standards: where misconduct and other harmful behaviors are under Zero-tolerance policy.
- Ex.- instances of sexual harassment.
- A Person of Contact: In case any instances of harassment do occur, there should be a trained person of contact for victims or witnesses of the behavior.
- Create #CultureKeepers: They provide positive reinforcement for good behaviors and keep a check and balance on bad behaviors for a healthy, respectful workplace.
- Invoke a language: like a COLOR-CODE-WORKPLACE-COLOR-SPECTRUM – to help people call out and deter bad behavior for a positive work environment.
- Internal Complaints Committee: To gain employees, especially women employees’ trust and confidence on one hand and be in compliance with the PoSH Act, 2013 on the other.
- Promote Free Consent: By providing special training to your managers and supervisors.
Thus, the above measures would deal comprehensively with the negative work environment creating ‘coercion’ and ‘undue influence’ and would create a work environment that upholds the inherent dignity and worth of every employee.
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