Saturday, 25 May 2013

Biggest Sexual Harassment cases settled ever

Phaneesh Murthy, the name googled more than those of Katrina Kaif and even Rajni Kanth last week. That's quite an achievement, whatever the reason may be.

Ten years back, Infosys had to pay $3 million for an out of court settlement of sexual harassment case against him. Here comes the man again, sacked few days back as iGATE president and CEO, the damage is expected to be much bigger this time.

Intention of this article is not to get into the details of what really happened, it doesn't suit this blog anyways, but to talk about the money involved in the biggest sexual harassment case settlements around the world.

Yup I have digged out some of the biggest settlements on the basis of amount involved in them.

Here they are, starting from the largest,

1. Female Employees v/s Novartis International AG

Settlement Amount : $250 Million
Year : 2010

This is more of a sex discrimination case than a harassment case, I think it'll come under the category we are looking into.
This is a unique case where number of female employees registered the case - one such claim was a new mom was asked not to apply for management job.  More details .

2. Ani Chopourian v/s Mercy General Hospital

Settlement Amount : $168 Million
Year : 2012

Ani Chopourian worked as a surgical physicians assistant for two years. She claims she was fired after she complained of sexual harassment.

This is the largest compensation given so far for an individual. More Details

3.Asheley v/s Aarons Inc

Settlement Amount : $95 Million
Year : 2011

She claimed that, she was harassed by her store manager.
Due to federal cap, the compensation came down to $40 Million.
Still it was the largest compensation for an individ6ual till Ani Chopourian verdict. More Details

 4.Female Employees v/s Mitsubishi Motors

Settlement Amount : $34 Million
Year : 1998

In 1998 the company was charged with allowing a hostile setting for women, Mitsubishi agreed to pay $34 million to female workers at the Normal, Illinois plant. More Details

5. Four Female Employees v/s Ralphs Grocery Store

Settlement Amount : $30.6 Million
Year : 2002

Four Employees charged the store manager of harassment including throwing objects at them.
In 2006, this compensation amount was reduced in 2006. More Details

There are thousand's of these cases, including the famous or infamous US president Bill Clinton and pop singer Britney Spears.

One thing I noticed while compiling this information is, Almost everything I get to read was from the USA. It is not that sexual harassment is less in other parts of the country, but they are not getting reported and compensation system is not as strong as the US's.

The best thing about US federal law is, the one who files a sexual harassment case may not pay the lawyer if one loses the case.
And harassment case can be filed against the firm or company as an individual. This makes the companies to be extra conscious and proactive to avoid any harassment cases.

It is not the case in other countries, if I talk from the perspective of India, according to an Oxfam opinion poll, 17% of Indian working woman face sexual harassment  and only 0.5% of the harassment cases come in to the limelight.

This is surprisingly shocking fact, hope in the future things wont get swept under the carpet.

Thanks for reading. 


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Is someone scared of Gold ?

While every woman in this country is obsessed with gold, two men seem to be terrified by the yellow metal - Mr.Subbarao and Mr.Chidambaram.

But the question is, why would either RBI or Central government be worried about high import of GOLD ??

Well, one can give a straight forward one liner: The Current Account Deficit.

In Layman language, If we are spending more than what we are earning, which is true for most of us, specially for me who almost always live in advance salary, we have current Account DEFICIT. I guess some of my friends who are already married might be enjoying current account SURPLUS (double income☺).

Fortunately or unfortunately India can't marry any other country to increase it's income. It has to tackle this problem alone.

All of this is fine, but why is RBI behind only Gold, when we import many things worth billions?

Answer is simple, when your family is running a deficit and your mother shows no signs of staying away from her favourite jewellery shop, what will you do ? do you ask her to continue buying gold and cut down the cost on rice/vegetable ?

So it makes sense why our Subbarao is so concerned at mother India's obsession for more gold. Btw India Imports more gold than any other country in the world, which makes us the world's biggest gold consumers. Last year we imported just 864 tonnes of gold(20% of global production).Out of this 40% was for investment purpose.

India spends more on gold(forms about 10% of our import bill) than on LPG and this amount stands just below our oil import bill(about 30%) and is more than the amount allocated by our central government for water supply, sanitation and urban development.

lets look at last month (April 2013) trade deficit data released by the government:
Trade deficit - $17.1 billion (Biggest single month trade deficit in the history of our country)
what went wrong ??
      Gold the culprit again. Out of $17.1 billion gold accounted  $7.5 billion (138% jump to be exact)

In one month we spent more money on gold than on the defence imports for the entire year.
This is worrying as gold doesn't create any jobs, doesn't improve any productivity, just money going out of our country.

About 5 years back, the same government and RBI encouraged banks to sell gold coins to us. They promoted gold as safe investment. Now the same people are trying to reverse the things.

Few days back RBI imposed restriction on import of gold by banks(Banks import more than 90% of gold). It has increased customs duty on gold. Encouraging alternate investments (according to last year's report by World Gold Council - India has the highest savings rate in the world. Indian's save 30% of their total income, 10% of which goes to gold).

Are these steps doing any help ??
Not really!!!

These restrictions by RBI are resulting in increased gold smuggling.

Last year Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized 200kgs of gold.

According to the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation,
India imported 950 tonnes in 2012. Of this, 250 tonne has come into the country through the illegal channel(mainly from Dubai and Taiwan where gold is cheaper).

It's pretty clear that RBI can go on playing with policies, but will never succeed in reducing Indian's lust for gold. Lets hope in near future our exports will offset our gold and oil bills ☻