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A few months ago we received news that two employees working in TCS lost their jobs. Both of them had voluntarily quit their jobs on the advice of HR and their respective project managers. They not only lost their job, but also were threatened with criminal proceedings which could potentially taint their service records making them ineligible to apply for job openings in any other company.
You might wonder what grave mistake did they commit?
As a norm, all employees are bound to abide by the information security protocols laid by the client companies of IT and BPO firms to prevent security breach and ensure security compliance. One such security protocol is the provision of a unique User ID and Password for each employee to access client machines. Sharing of these credentials with others is deemed as a security violation.
In the current case, one of the employees who was terminated had allegedly shared his credentials with a fellow employee for work-related reasons which was brought to light during TCS internal audit process. Based on these findings, criminal charges could be framed under Indian cyber security laws.
Therefore, it might seem that the HR and the project managers saved these employees without filing a complaint. But, IT / BPO employees working in the industry for a considerable time would simply laugh at such suggestion or get plain annoyed. They know that every organisation has these kinds of security measures which are not strictly followed and also that employees do not violate such rules on their own but do so upon instructions from their managers or seniors in the project.
Even as you read this, thousands of such security protocol violations like sharing credentials is taking place. In almost all the cases, the managers instruct the team members to share credentials. The employees are oblivious to the perils of following such instructions which may lead even to termination of employment.
It is not a great mystery to many, how the employees in the above case were made to resign their job. Having found to have breached security measures in the company’s internal audit, they were asked by the manager and HR to provide a written statement that they have done it without any malicious intent and wouldn’t repeat the same in the future. When they hesitated to give such a written statement, they were threatened that there is no other way out and they will be protected from any further problems.
However, it is with their written statements that the Managers (the very people who promised to protect and safeguard these employees) terminated the employees.
Lack of experience, improper guidance from senior employees, assumptions like ‘Everybody works only this way’ or ‘Manager has given his assurance to our safety’ are the reasons behind the termination of the two employees and a question mark over the employee’s credibility.
From our sources, we understand that a lot of people apart from the above two employees have lost their jobs due to this very reason.
Merely to earn a good name from your manager or to receive good ratings in your appraisal do not indulge in such security violations on the advice of your managers. Please understand that the managers wouldn’t think twice to use your statements against you to save their backs.
Management of IT companies toy with the employees’ future for their own greed. We call upon IT employees not to trust the words of management encouraging you to commit such security violations; rather insist on a a written statement in paper or mail from the manager. All employees who currently work under such circumstances are also advised to get approvals in mail.
Do not be afraid that if you ask for such written instructions you will be asked to leave the organisation. Get rid of ignorance and fear. We are not slaves of old times. We have our union to question and fight for our rights.
It has been two years since we started our union. We have accomplished a lot both directly and indirectly through our union. Recently, we took up a case against CTS for increasing working hours illegally; earlier we stopped companies like TCS and Syntel from laying off employees. That is why these companies are finding newer ways to cut down their work-force.
To address all issues you face in your work life, we request you to join NDLF-IT Employees wing and take decisions only after consulting with your fellow employees and union members.
New Democratic Labour Front,
IT Employees Wing
Comrade Karpaga Vinayagam, Organiser
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile : 9003198576