KARACHI: Country’s leading event management and PR company’s CEO has been accused of workplace harassment by a ‘former’ intern.
Neha Kewalramani, an intern working for Frieha Altaf’s Catwalk PR took to social media to publicly share an internal email directed to Frieha. In the email, she spoke about the CEO’s misconduct and unfair treatment of her (and other team members) and also ‘resigned’ from her duties at the company.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Neha said, “I never thought that I will take such bold step against someone. I think it’s high time to show your worth to people. Because what is wrong is WRONG.”
She further added, “I had heard a lot about this lady always – bad words only. But I got the answer to it once I began working for her. 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”.
Neha went on to accuse Frieha of insulting her employees and causing extreme distress.
“I’m not the only one, she does this to her every employee. I couldn’t speak there in front of her. But here am I, speaking now – so that everyone hears me out,” Neha continued. “She has no right to treat us like this. She must be known in the industry but she should know how to treat others.”
The former intern also threatened to take legal action under the workplace harassment law if the PR firm’s CEO does not apologies for her behavior.
The Express Tribune then spoke to Frieha and she denied all the 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,” Frieha said. “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 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 the CEO.
“No employee is pressured to stay. If the environment of an event company is highly stressed and not suited to their personality they leave,” she continued. “Most young people who have no experience in a work environment only see the glamourous side of our events.”
Talking about Neha’s accusations of Frieha treating her employees like slaves, the PR guru 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.”
Divulging into the relationship she has with her employees, Frieha commented, “My employees are exceptional. Some of them have been with me 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 further wished Neha the best for her future endeavours.
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