'Open-mindedness and Empathy': Kerala High Court Advocates Compassion in Women's Job Transfers


In a significant observation, the Kerala High Court underscored the need for employers to exhibit "open-mindedness, empathy, and understanding" when issuing transfer orders to working women. The court acknowledged the unique challenges faced by women, particularly mothers, when relocated for work, emphasizing the importance of considering their familial responsibilities.

"When working women are transferred to new destinations, they often encounter challenges like finding suitable childcare arrangements and maintaining a work-life balance in an unfamiliar environment. They also find it difficult to cope with the stress of relocation, including establishing new social networks and support systems," explained the division bench of Justices A Muhamed Mustaque and Shoba Annamma Eapen.

The court's observations came in response to petitions filed by two women doctors challenging their transfers from Ernakulam to Kollam. The petitioners, both mothers, highlighted the complexities involved in uprooting their families, including children with health issues and elderly parents requiring care.

The bench expressed that the employer, in these situations, should demonstrate an understanding of the unique circumstances faced by women. It stressed the importance of considering factors such as children's education, especially in critical years like the 11th standard, and the responsibility of caring for elderly parents.

The court's stand aligns with the broader recognition of the multifaceted challenges encountered by women in the workforce, reinforcing the need for a more compassionate approach to address the intricacies of work-life balance. As the cases remain pending before the administrative tribunal, the court ordered the maintenance of the status quo until their resolution, urging both parties to pursue a fair and considerate resolution.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University