ISLAMABAD: A department head at the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) in Islamabad has been suspended pending an inquiry for allegedly harassing a female subordinate.
The Federal Ombudsperson on anti-harassment Kashmala Tariq has taken notice of a complaint filed by a female employee of FUUAST.
In the complaint, she stated that the accused has been given the additional charge of a department and was thus enjoying excessive powers over the complainant by virtue of the former’s designation.
“Such designation is an extra charge granted to the accused over and above his basic service,” read the order from the ombudsperson, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune.
It further argued that the accused had not only been “creating an aggressive and hostile environment for the complainant but is also abusing his powers and authority to access confidential professional records of the complainant, tamper documentary evidence and influence potential witnesses who are aware of the facts and circumstances of the instant case/complaint.”
The complainant requested that the accused be removed from their post because he holds a high rank and since she works under his supervision, it would allow him to exploit and abuse his powers to stop the complainant from freely pursuing the complaint.
The accused, however, has denied the allegations as baseless and raised the question of whether the ombudsperson can issue any interlocutory order while an inquiry is proceeding.
However, the ombudsperson noted that they were empowered to issue such an order.
It added that the vice chancellor of the university had failed to maintain the code of conduct of the institution to “provide a safe and conducive environment to its employees and the employer shall not allow creating any hostile environment and duly protect its employee/complainant from retaliation”.
The Ombudsperson noted that the employer can make a temporary adjustment so that the accused and the complainant do not have to interact for official purposes during the inquiry period.