Are a company and its senior managers responsible for the safety of their employees? Definitely, when workers are on the job and on company premises. But Thursday’s Supreme Court judgement that clears the way for the prosecution of Som Mittal, former managing director of Hewlett-Packard GlobalSoft, widens the arc of corporate responsibility—though perhaps a bit too far.
Mittal will be prosecuted after the rape and murder of a female employee of the company he headed. She was working the night shift and was attacked by the driver of a car sent by the company to drop her home after work.
The sad death of Pratibha Murthy was as much a state failure as a corporate one. Will any police officers also be prosecuted? Unlikely.
That said, technology firms—and others—need to pay special attention to the security of female employees in a country where gender atrocities are common.