Mr. Premji : Is Brutalising a Woman Employee Ethical Leadership?

Wipro Darwin Theory of Evolution in Layoff Practices

We have written several articles based on layoff procedures followed by Wipro in the last few years.

In the past, employee to be retrenched are targeted either performance as basis or employees who are part of bench for longer duration. These employees are asked to resign by HR using various threats. The employee then submits the resignation in the system and he/she will be serving 2 month notice in the company. In other words, employee will be working in the company for the full notice period

But after labor unions increased the percentage of employees contacting labor unions, labor department and labor court for justice, many companies find it difficult to remove employees in the traditional (20 years tradition) way. They see that 2 month time given to the employee is risky as there is a high chance that employee seeks legal remedy during the notice period and that increases the number of employees asking company to revoke resignation.

File Photo

So later Wipro tried terminating employees by giving discharge letter. As part of this practice, 2 month salary is credited to the employee account. The employee is called for HR meeting and provided discharge letter. The employee is terminated on the same day. It happened primarily in Bangalore location. But this also caused issue to the company as 4 of the associates approached labor department and later filed cases in labor court. The reason for retrenchment stated in the discharge letter is only the clause in offer letter. But in legal terms, companies cannot  retrench employees based on offer letter clause. There is a high chance that if affected employees  take up legal challenge and get their judgement in their favor it creates issues for the company. So company stopped terminating by giving discharge letter due to this legal risk.

These various measures taken by unions and employees reduced the layoff threat considerably in Wipro after these incidents. But there are retrenchments happening here and there and we want to share in this article details about how termination is happening recently.

Mahalakshmi (Name changed based on employee request) is rated lower in her appraisal cycle. As part of last year annual appraisal, Wipro identified 10% in the low performer category. For the last few weeks, she has been asked by HR team to submit her resignation. She refused to resign for the last few weeks.

Yesterday she had a meeting with HR team. One of the woman HR working in Wipro has scheduled this meeting. She harassed Mahalakshmi to the core.

The various harassment Mahalakshmi faced in this meetings are:

  1. She is asked to submit resignation immediately in the system. She was blackmailed if she resists, her ID card has to be surrendered immediately and she will be sent out of the company escorted by security. She is blackmailed that if this happens, she will not get her settlement money.
  2. She is also blackmailed if she resists, she will be blacklisted in the system and she will not ge job in any other company.
  3. She is not allowed to leave the HR bay if she resist to submit resignation.
  4. When Mahalakshmi argued and asked them to give time, it was refused and she was asked to surrender her ID card.
  5. Mahalakshmi is harassed to the core and kept at  a corner. She was threatened that if she did not resign, she will not allowed to go out of the room
  6. As Mahalakshmi is left with no choice, she agreed to resign. HR officer asked her to open separation process by sitting next to her and submitted the resignation herself on Mahalakshmi behalf.
  7. Immediately after Mahalakshmi was made to submit resignation, she was forced to surrender her ID card.
  8. HR officer called security officer to escort her till the outside gate of the premises.

This is repetition of Verizon incident that happened last year. Soft targets like people who are afraid and women employees are targeted more in this separation. The number of exits has reduced considerably but it is targeted more towards mid-level people like employees in the experience range of 5-10 years. The difference between Verizon and Wipro is in case of Wipro, it is still showing as attrition to outside world, i.e  employee has resigned as per her own wish.

Mahalakshmi has been working for more than 8 years in Wipro and has a young family to support. She is forced to submit resignation by the thug like behaviour of HR and she is pushed out of the company with 10 days time. The way HR treated her is not only illegal and unethical it is also inhuman. She has raised grievance in the internal grievance system, but has not received any response so far.

Wipro Chairman is donating majority of his wealth to Philanthropic cases through trusts controlled by him. He is well known for his great work in the field of education by his various charity foundations. We really wonder whether all this malpractices are happening with the consent of Mr Premji. We can understand if the same is happening in companies like Verizon or Cognizant, we can understand that profit is the motto of these companies and more importantly they are foreign companies. But Premji is one of the most respected persons in Indian business field and he was awarded the country’s 2nd highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan by Indian Government for serving the country. So we are really doubtful if these incidents are happening with his consent or influenced by other top level people.

As per affected employee view, how human resource officer remove their heart while doing such exercise. Can human resource officer touch their heart and say what is happening is correct? Does this mean they can do anything for getting their promotion and hikes? Is this is what great management colleges teaches these officers? Don’t  they  know what they are doing is illegal as per Indian Law? HR officers, one side talk about employee relation, building team building exercise and on the other side are going to any level in illegal ways for their promotions and hikes. They are ignoring the fact that they also have children and family and these acts has an effect on employee’s family also.

But on other side, we understand the problem HR officers face. If HR officer goes to this level means, pressure from top is much high. The problem is HR officers are also in the radar of layoff and we have been in constant touch with some good HRs and have insider information about what is happening overall. So we cannot blame directly HR for the act even as we feel that all the above queries on affected employees shoes are valid.

There is a famous Rajini Kanth Song which says for every drop of his Sweat, people has given 8 grams of Gold. Mr Premji front run the company with Rs 30 crore investment and it grows to  Rs 1,40,000 crore which  is a multiplication of 50000 times in these 35 years. Employees are the backbone for this growth and being highest Padma Vibhushan award winner and greatest Philanthropist, Mr Premji should come forward to save the employees from this layoff practice.

– Senior Wipro Employee

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