If your company always boasts about being an equal opportunity employer, talks about LGBTQ rights and boasts about celebrating a harmonious work culture ahead of times, chances are that you are working in an extremely sexist and biased organization.
For many years, corporate employees from around the world and mainly from India has been complaining about several of their company’s gender-biased policies. There are several of them. However, in this article, we will deal with your company’s sexist transport policy. The information is gathered from multiple sources and you can match this with your company’s transport policy and give us feedback on this article.
After analyzing the reports received from these employees we found ten major areas where companies, especially the ones that boast about gender equality, discriminate their male employees. But before we proceed, we need to understand the concept of ‘day’ and ‘night’ windows.
‘Day window’ is typically defined in the corporate world where a company conducts its business operations during the normal office hours (like 9 am to 5 pm or 10 am to 6 pm for India). ‘Night window’ starts after the day window ends and extends till the day window starts. Typically, it is observed that companies divide the 24-hour day into two halves and determine day and night windows. However, for regions like Delhi-NCR in India, industry leaders extend the ‘night window’ further.
The ten most outrageous ways the companies discriminate against their male employees are in the following areas –
- ALL women working in the ‘Night-Window’ Provided Company Cab but NOT all Men
All women who work in the night window are provided company cab but men working in night-window are not. If men want to know the provisions for them, in some companies they find it very difficult to get any information. One IT employee from Bangalore reported that his manager was surprised when he asked for night transport. Then he went to different teams without really understanding how to get the transport facility. A generic reaction to such requests is why a male employee ever need such a facility? They can come in bike or other forms of own transport. Whereas women joining the same organization are told specifically and separately from male employees how they can apply and get the transport facility.
If a woman does not want to avail this facility, she needs to inform in writing that she does not want to avail this facility. Even then she can opt for the same if on some days she requires the same by giving advance notice.
The problem is many men do not want to drive in the wee hours of the day are forced to drive or take public transport endangering their lives.
- It’s FREE for Women While men still pay for Company Cab
If men somehow get to the root of the problem and manage to get company transport, they need to pay for the same whereas companies give this facility free for their women employees. In an organization where ‘equal pay for equal work’ is boasted about, such additional facilities given to women employees only increase their perks and overall benefits which are not considered in any gender wage gap analysis.
This is also another deterrent for the male employees to avail company transport. The payment is so high for them (maybe to compensate for free transport to women), they are forced to decide against taking this facility. Even if they do take this facility at the expense of paying money; there are other deterrents for them that shall be explained later in this article.
- It’s Home Pick Up/Drop for Women, NOT for men
ALL Women working in ‘night window’ and some working in day window are given door pickup/drop facility. Whereas many male employees even in the ‘night window’ are not given the door pickup/drop facility. What is more intriguing is women employees who get dropped around 7 am is also dropped at the doorstep and male employees even at night 1 AM are asked to walk some distance.
The same is valid when the female employee is travelling out of the station on company work. Men, on the other hand, are asked to arrange for their own vehicles (that may be reimbursed later).
- For Offices Working in ‘Day-Window’ only, Women Are Made to Leave Early
It’s a rule in all companies that where the company doesn’t work in the night window (say 7 pm onwards) the company can not ask women employees to stretch beyond 7 pm. That means even if the woman is not able to finish her work in time, her company can’t ask her to stay back and finish her work. Many times, the male colleagues need to bear the burden of their incomplete work or the overall work gets delayed.
In one situation, when the peers of a woman employee raised the objection of her not completing the work in time and not extending, the peers of a US MNC got a notice for BCG violation of harassment of a female colleague. It is in the policy of these companies that managers can’t ask any woman employee to extend and will have to make sure that they leave office before the night window. As a result, women are given less workload compared to men.
- All Male Employees Can’t Board-Off A Cab if A Woman Employee is Still Inside
It is a rule in companies that if a woman employee is still inside a cab, a male employee can’t board off even if his place arrives before hers. As a result, many male employees who stay near the office are asked to drop their female colleagues first, before getting dropped themselves. In one case, when a male employee of Noida office of a BPO giant raised this issue with his HR, he was told that this is the government rule and either he accepts this or stops taking the transport facility.
The rule is the same while picking up as well. Women employees are asked not to board a cab if there is no male employee present before them. As a result, a male employee living nearby to an office is picked up early and dropped late, making it very undesirable for a male employee to take a company cab. Added to the fact, is that it’s the male employee who pays money to avail the cab facility and not the female.
There are cases where female employees delay the cab for various reasons. As a result, that time adds to the overall delay of everyone. Since companies take a lenient approach to such errant females, and many times the male employee’s complaints go unheard, the overall delay for male employees increases without their fault.
- When Asked, A Male Employee Must Escort a Female Employee Home
There are global leaders and mainly IT organizations that have a policy that if a female employee asks a male employee to drop her home or escort her home, the male employee must oblige. It can happen when the female employee’s home is not on a motorable road or for any other reason. So, in a night window when a female employee is getting dropped near to her house, she may request the male employee in the cab to take her till her door step and the male employee must oblige. Otherwise, the employee may not only lose his ‘facility’ of taking office cab (for violation of company policy) but also may attract HR action.
- Even Clients Are Asked to Provide FREE Mandatory Transport to Visiting Women Employees
When women employees visit any client office, those clients are asked to take complete care of the woman’s transportation needs free of cost. It is a mandatory obligation for all clients today. Males, on the other hand, may accompany such women or arrange their own transport (if travelling alone) and get that reimbursed later. In some cases, clients may provide transport to such males, but there is no obligation or mandatory clause like that.
- Women Employees Traveling Alone At Night May Have Accompanied Family Member FREE With Them
In case a woman employee is travelling alone at night for any office work, and there is no other male employee to accompany her, one of her family members or friends can travel with her. In such cases, the other member will be given a free drop to his home or place of choice. This is applicable even when the woman is travelling to other locations on official trips and travelling to railway station or airports. Her family member gets a free ride to the airport or railway station and back.
Male employees travelling on official trips, however, do not get such benefits.
- If the Woman Does Not reside within a Boundary, She is Not Rostered for ‘Night-Window’ Work
Every company has a policy of providing transport facility up to a certain boundary from the office location. Typically, it is 20-30 KM depending on the organization. Some organization extend this to even 35 KM. However, for cities like Bangalore and Mumbai where road traffic is the biggest problem this one-way journey can take hours.
It is mandatory for all managers to ensure that women are not rostered in such a way so that such women work in the ‘night-window’ or leave office during night-window.
- Women PwD Employees Get Special Escort During the Night Window
Last but not least, women employees with special needs are entitled to one escort at night time. Many companies employ people with special needs in their organization. Under this policy, people with a visual disability or mobility issues may be employed in the organization, but women employees get the help of an escort while the male employees do not.
This is true even if the male employee is visually impaired (blind) and the woman employee has a broken-leg. The woman employee will get one assistant to help her move around the office or board her cab, while the male employee will have to help himself unless some other employee voluntarily comes forward to help him.
Many of the rules you see above were changed after the Nirbhaya incident. You may remember those days when we were emotionally blackmailed into believing all such changes were necessary. But today, even after so many years, male employees of these ‘equality’ employers don’t get equal treatment. They have to endure this or leave the organization.
If you are a man suffering from such biases, don’t remain silent and add fuel to more such biases. Raise your concerns with your organization and start a discussion so that the organizations understand the importance and value of their male employees as well. As it is said, even a baby knows how to snatch his rights from others. He cries, cries and throws all tantrums and his parents oblige.