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Workplace harassment: IIUI dept head removed

Workplace harassment: IIUI dept head removed

ISLAMABAD: International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) Tuesday removed a departmental head for “unprofessional behavior” and for creating an uncomfortable workplace for female staffers.

Dr Muhammad Irfan Khan, who was heading the department of environmental sciences at the varsity, has been removed from his post after six female faculty members of the same department complained that he had harassed them, and employed disrespectful behavior towards them.

In a recent meeting, where senior faculty members of other universities were also present, Dr Khan allegedly shouted loudly and directed foul language at six female faculty members.

Female teaching faculty initially tolerated the professor’s unprofessional behavior, but they ultimately ran out of patience, said a complainant who asked not to be named.

“He created hurdles in official matters and would misbehave with female staff,” she said, adding that the workplace became uncomfortable for them to work in.

“He is ill-tempered most of the time and such complaints have also been registered against him before,” she added. The official complaint added that the professor “was yelling and making immoral gestures. We, the female members, felt victimised, harassed and threatened in the given circumstances. The whole event happened in front of faculty and participants from other institutions”.

When approached for comment, Dr Khan claimed that four of the women who had complained about him were not even present in the meeting in question and that these staffers were being “used against him”.

“They are trying to defame me to keep me out of an upcoming selection board for irregular appointments of grade-20 positions,” he said, adding, “I’m going to serve them all with legal notices for defaming me.”

The administration of the university, in an official response, said the professor had already completed his tenure.

“A probe committee is looking into all complaints made by male and female faculty members of the department. We cannot comment on the outcome,” the varsity said.

However, one of the committee members confirmed that the chairman had been removed owing to the complaints filed by the faculty members over his misconduct and harassment.

The Express Tribune

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