CEO of Catwalk Event Management & Productions Frieha Altaf has denied all allegations of workplace harassment by a former intern.
Neha Kawalramani, a former intern at Catwalk Event Management and Productions on Friday alleged that the chief executive officer (CEO) of the company, Frieha Altaf emotionally and verbally harassed her, forcing her to quit her job.
Kawalramani had shared screenshots of the email she had written to Altaf, detailing her experiences working for the company and announcing her decision to quit.
“I am emailing you just to inform you that I am resigning from the post of Intern at your organisation on ethical grounds,” she wrote.
“I never got a proper workplace environment where an employee should peacefully work; while on the other hand, I was continuously being harassed emotionally as well as verbally by you for not handing over work for which I was not even responsible for,” Kawalramani added.
“We, being employees of your organisation, should be given due respect for the work we are doing but we are being punished for it on every step.”
Kawalramani further said that employees at the company are treated like “slaves”.
She added that the treatment meted out to her comes under harassment as per “Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010”.
Kawalramani later took to social media to express her views.
“I never thought that I will take such a bold step against someone. But I had to because Chup beth Ke kuch nai milta. I think it’s high time to show your worth to people. Because what is wrong is WRONG,” she said.
“She treats her employees like animals and slaves. Once you become a part of her company, you’re no more a kid of someone, or a brother neither a husband. Just a Slave of Catwalk. I kept listening to her since my joining and never replied her back, whenever she shouted. That too for little things. And today, she threw the work I did for her on my table. And insulted me.
I’m not the only one, she does this to her every employee.”
However, while speaking to a local media outlet, the fashion icon said denied all these allegations. “Rather unfortunate and sad that a young, inexperienced intern should turn to social media rather than talk to her line manager to express her views. The intern is a young lady who is supposed to report and submit her work in a timely way. Bypassing her manager, she would directly submit her work to me which naturally was not always up to the mark. She was hired by the manager, not me”.
“Interns do not get official desks as they are temporary. The lady in question did not complete her work on time, came and went as desired. When her work was done well, she received appreciation as well which she forgets to mention,” claimed Freiha.
“No employee is pressured to stay. If the environment of an event company is highly stressed and not suited to their personality they leave. Most young people who have no experience in a work environment only see the glamorous side of our events,” she added.
In response to the intern’s accusation that the PR company festered an environment of slaves, Frieha said: “A slave is someone who is owned by someone and not paid for services. My employees work very hard, long hours as is the nature of our job. That is what our clients expect from us and appreciate”.
“My employees are exceptional. Some of them have been with me for over 15 years. I’m a perfectionist and I drive them to be the best they are. Many have gone on to open their own businesses and many have come back on their own will,” she concluded.