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Statement on Serious Allegations against CIS Members and the CIS Workplace on Social Media

Posted by Sunil Abraham at Nov 24, 2018 08:35 AM |
In light of serious allegations raised on social media about CIS members and workplace, we wish to provide a detailed update at this stage.


  1. On October 10, 2018 CIS became aware of a serious allegation posted on a social networking website against a current Director by a former intern. The Director in question was a consultant with CIS at the time when the reported incident took place. CIS has taken note of the concern raised on a social platform, and its Internal Committee (IC), constituted as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, has taken the following steps in the spirit of being just, unbiased, and fair, and following principles of natural justice without any fear, partiality, or influence.

    1. The IC reached out to the aggrieved immediately to ask if the person would participate in an inquiry so that a formal inquiry can be conducted. CIS will continue to lend complete support to the aggrieved in this regard.

    2. As there were concerns raised by a few individuals about CIS as a workplace on social media, the IC has also reached out to all individuals who have raised these concerns to better understand the issues they have raised.

    3. On October 12, the respondent was directed by the Executive Director to not visit any CIS workplace, to not reach out directly or indirectly to anyone related to the complaint and to not discuss the allegations, incident or people involved, with any colleagues.

    4. On October 29, the respondent was further directed by the Executive Director not to communicate with any colleagues and co-ordinate with senior leadership team only regarding work along with maintaining strict confidentiality.

    Since a formal complaint is yet to be filed, CIS has sought advice from legal experts and has engaged POSH at Work to review the case so far and make recommendations to the Executive Director of CIS. This is to ensure that the proceedings are conducted in an impartial manner by persons of impeccable integrity and experts in the law on sexual harassment at the workplace.

  2. Resignation of Dr. Lawrence Liang: Some statements on social media raised concerns about ambiguity regarding Dr. Liang’s association with CIS. The Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Ambedkar University Delhi has found Dr. Liang guilty of sexual harassment on February 20, 2018. We would like to clarify that after this, CIS reached out to Dr. Liang and he tendered his resignation in March 2018 from membership of CIS’ Society and as a Distinguished Fellow. While we had updated the pages linked on our homepage, a delinked page on the website had not been updated. The omission on CIS’ part to update certain pages of its website to reflect the same was an inadvertent error, and we deeply regret it.

CIS is committed to creating a safe and conducive work environment that enables all to work without fear of prejudice, gender bias, and sexual harassment; where employer and employees respect each other’s integrity and dignity, their privacy, their right to equality and right to equal opportunity in the workplace. An Internal Committee as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 has been available to its employees since 2013. CIS recognizes that equality in employment can be seriously impaired when one is subjected to discrimination by way of sexual harassment at the workplace, and each such incident results not only in violation of fundamental rights but also in severe impact on the person, their family and the workplace. CIS has zero tolerance for sexual harassment at the workplace and is, thus, working towards adopting appropriate measures to create awareness about the law against sexual harassment along with educating employees about their rights and responsibilities.

CIS has taken the following measures currently as a step forward:

  1. CIS has issued guidelines for CIS’ staff members interactions with interns, which requires all members to treat interns with utmost respect and dignity. Any romantic or intimate relationships that may develop between a CIS staff member and an intern should be immediately disclosed by the CIS staff member to the senior management team, with a request to be relieved from any direct or indirect supervisory role. Any instance of unprofessional or disrespectful behavior with interns will invite strict disciplinary action against CIS staff members. CIS staff members include all permanent/ temporary staff, consultants, board members, society members, fellows, individuals sharing our workplace, and any other person in a potential supervisory role in relation to a CIS intern. CIS is also in the process to evolving a similar code of conduct which would be applicable to all staff members.

  2. CIS recently organized an institution-wide mandatory anti-sexual harassment training, on November 20th, and will continue to have regular trainings and discussions. Such trainings have been organised annually at CIS since 2013.

  3. CIS recently organized a training session for IC members on October 30, 2018.

  4. The membership of CIS’ IC has been expanded to include members from all levels in the organisation.

  5. CIS’ IC is currently taking measures to evolve into a body that regularly engages with all members of the organisation to build an atmosphere of security and safety, and addresses disrespectful and unprofessional behaviour brought to its notice, at the very first instance. POSH at Work has been requested to review CIS Policy against sexual harassment and will work with CIS to strengthen the procedures for conducting investigations and other functions of the IC.

  6. POSH at Work is conducting an organization-wide due diligence to understand any concerns of employees and recommend measures that may be implemented by CIS after review by the senior management team to make CIS a healthier place to work. CIS hopes to build an inclusive and respectful workplace with an atmosphere of security and safety.

We hold a zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment, and encourage anyone who may have experienced or known others to experience any such incident(s) in their time at CIS to get in touch with the IC at [email protected] without any fear of retaliation, and IC will take up such complaint on priority.

CIS' Policy on Prohibition of Sexual Harassment: Link to Page


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Sunil Abraham