Woman who alleged sexual harassment in TERI quits

New Delhi: A woman researcher who hurled charges of sexual harassment against environmental scientist R.K. Pachauri has quit her job at TERI, alleging she had been treated badly. TERI denied the charge.

The 29-year-old woman accused The Energy Research Institute (TERI) of treating her “in the worst possible manner” and “failing to uphold” her interests.

“Your organisation has treated me in the worst possible manner. TERI failed to uphold my interests as an employee, let alone protecting them,” she said in her resignation letter.

TERI said the allegations were “completely false and baseless” and said it had given her “special privileges” and “acceded to all her demands”.

The think tank said: “TERI has been completely fair and totally neutral in the matter. The organization has till date accorded special privileges to the complainant and acceded to all her demands. The organization has not favoured anyone which is a fact apparent from documented records.”

In February this year, the woman complained to police that Pachauri, 75, began harassing her soon after she joined TERI.

She alleged that the organisation protected Pachauri and provided him “full immunity, despite being held guilty of sexual harassment” by its inquiry committee.

She said her work profile was changed with “zero explanation” and the organisation “played deaf” to her requests not to do so.

TERI said the complainant had requested to allow her to work from home, which was declined as the institute’s policy and sexual harassment law do not provide such privilege.

She was, however, given the option to join a TERI centre near her home in Gurgaon to ensure she worked on subjects consistent with her qualification and experience, TERI said.

In her letter, the woman said: “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.”

TERI said she was allowed 90 days special leave with full pay and benefits till May 18, which was extended till May 26, and beyond which she “preferred to stay on leave without pay”.

It said that during this period, the organization was not intimated when she would resume work.

“Since we did not receive any prior intimidation, leave without pay started with immediate effect from May 26 until date of resigning,” TERI said.

It said it had initiated the account settlement process after her resignation.

Pachauri was ousted from his post as head of TERI in July and Ajay Mathur was appointed the director general.

Pachauri also stepped down from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.