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In the context of work environment, differentiate between coercion and undue influence with suitable examples.

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: 

  1. A positive work environment: Characterised by respect, diversity, and effective teamwork,  It promotes productivity, creativity, and employee satisfaction.
  2. 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: 

Coercion Undue influence
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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