Can an IT Employee Fight the Company?

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series IT Life

 Shyam Sundar who is part of NDLF IT Employees Wing has around 20 years of experience in information technology. He is writing “IT employees Life –  Fun or Problems” to create awareness on various issues faced by IT employees. Part 4 of the article is here. (To read the other parts)

At the end of last part, we asked a few queries, mostly about how an employee can fight against management when faced with termination or other work related issues. I want to refer to the case of Ramesha to answer all queries related to termination.

Ramesha illegal termination case

Ramesha joined HCL in 2010 as a programmer and later got promoted as senior software engineer. In 2013, HCL terminated Ramesha’s services citing performance issue. Ramesha decided to legally challenge HCL’s decision.

The various challenges Ramesha faced back then were :

  1. There was no past court judgements or government orders confirming whether information technology sector comes under Industrial Dispute Act 1947.
  2. IDA is applicable only to workmen. There is no clear case history confirming that IT employees come under the category of workman.

HCL management argued that IT industry does not come under IDA and Ramesha was a supervisor and not a workman. After hearing both sides of the arguments, honorable labour court gave judgement in favor of Ramesha.

The judge dismissed HCL contention that Ramesha is not a workman. Judge stated that IT job involves both skilled and technical work. Any person on a job which requires skill and is technical in nature is a workman and comes under ID act.

Further, HCL management was not able to provide any evidence of alleged poor performance by Ramesha. HCL did not have documentary evidence to show that opportunity was given for performance improvement as per ID Act. So court ordered HCL to reinstate Ramesha with back wages. With the help of this judgement Ramesha got the job back will full salary for the months he was out of job.

This historical judgement was delivered in 2016. It is definitely a milestone in the history of IT employees legal fight for our rights. This judgement sets an example for future cases in IT industry. Now IT companies cannot claim that IT employees do not come under IDA.

Shreya Ukil

In the meantime, in Jan 2015, our NDLF IT Employees Wing filed a  public interest litigation with Chennai High Court to clarify whether IDA is applicable to IT sector. Honorable court directed Tamilnadu government to take immediate decision on this matter. After 15 months of delay, Kumar Jayant, Labour Secretary, Tamilnadu government replied to our union on May 30th 2016.

The government clarified the following points:

  1. IT employees are free to form IT labor union
  2. All labour laws are applicable for IT employees.
  3. If there is any dispute, IT employees can appeal to labor department under ID Act

Only based on this direction, we are fighting forced resignations and other grievances of IT emplyees now.

In addition to Ramesha case, we have other examples like SasiRekha vs TCS and  Shreya Ukhil vs Wipro. In all these cases where employee took up the fight against the management and results came in favor of employees.

So what we should understand from these examples? If people are ready to fight they will win their rights.

In the case of Ramesha and others, they did not have previous examples to go by. Now we have the examples of victories won by Ramesh etc, we are very clear that IDA is applicable to IT industry. Hence employee should take up the fight against terminations and other work place issues using the examples of Ramesha etc.

NDLF is a registered trade union fighting for the rights of employees, any IT employee in Tamil Nadu/Puducherry can enroll themselves in NDLF IT Employees Wing. NDLF will provide legal support and guidance for people affected by layoffs. Please write to if you have any specific issues at your work place.

Now we will try to answer queries like “our chairman is one of the richest person” , “our company has strong legal team and they will crush our case legally” etc.

We have seen many cases where powerful, rich and popular people in various fields like politics, cinema etc were made to pay for their crimes. So determination to fight for your rights will certainly bring justice.

Currently many people give up their rights due to threats from HR and management. But if everyone decides to fight, we all will win. For example, if a company terminates 3000 employees and even if 1500 of them take up the legal fight and file 1500 different cases, imagine the effect it is going to have on the company. It affects the reputation of the company. IT being a service oriented sector, company will definitely come to an amicable agreement with employees if such a situation arises. So break free from your fears and strengthen your resolve to fight against terminations, forced resignations and other work related issues.

Now we will go to the next issue. I have seen many employees complaining about their managers and HR officials and personally blame them as responsible for their troubles.

HR is a villain or is just an employee like the rest of us?

– Shyam Sundar

(To read the other parts)

Series Navigation<< Don’t Resign without a Job in HandIT Layoffs – A word to HR >>

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