I am writing this article by keeping a thought in mind that this may help some one who is fighting for justice.
I am Mohanapriya who fits all the norms of a Normal IT employee and worked for a reputed IT Organization in Chennai for the past 8 years. The journey with the organization was wonderful as I was recognized very well and received top rating in all my years along with various awards and rewards.
The coin always has a flip side which I come to know during my resignation process. I had undergone all sort of unnecessary stress and pressure which is detailed below for your reference
Due to personal commitments, I have decided to quit from job . As I have just reported to project after my maternity leave, I requested HR to release me from billable role and process early release abiding by the Policies of Organization.
The process went as follows
Resignation(Separation) process is followed for me by HR Team:
Day 1: Mailed to Account HR about my resignation
Day 3: Received call from Account HR asking to meet on Day 6
Day 6: Unable to meet Account HR on Day 6 due to personal reason and communicated the same to Account HR through mail
Day 7: Received a call from Account HR and asked the reason for my exit. Explained that personal and family commitments put constraint in continuing in job. Asked for early release from the billable role
Day 10: Received a call from Account HR and told that my release has been processed with the end date as Day-1 (Resignation requested date) and separation team will call me for further process.
During the Day-7 and Day-10 conversations, there was no discussion about buyout option (Need to pay for notice period) and there was no request from me for buyout option at all.
Day 14: HR from separation team has called and said that “you have opted buy out option for resignation”,
Which was a big shock to me as have never quoted /requested for this. I straight away informed HR and Separation team that I am not interested for buyout and ready to serve for notice period. Then we looped Account HR into the call and conversation went as below
Me : When did I ask for buy out option? Most important, I am not even aware of that term itself and I am ready to serve notice period/ take back my resignation.
Account HR : All your benefits will put on hold until you pay buyout money.
This was said in a shouting tone. Further they threatened me that all my benefits including PF will be blocked by them.
The behaviour of HR made me feel that they are unethical/rude in treating a woman employee and they are imposing on me to accept buyout option by holding all the benefits including provident fund.
What is a “buy out” option?
In cases where a company needs a specific skill set of an employee on an urgent basis, they usually buy out the employee’s notice period with the current employer, so that the employee can join them at the earliest. That is the new employer pays the earlier employer on behalf of the employee his/her notice period salary to get the employee relieved immediately.
Day 15: Account HR called and said, “Nothing can be done.”
He had checked with Leadership and Resource Management team and they said that I have only buyout option.
I tried to explain how I can accept the buyout which I have not requested at all. But, HR team didn’t give ear to my words and just disconnected the call and initiated separation for me without my acceptance.
This is really rude manner of treating a long servicing (8 years) high performing employee who contributed a lot to Organization growth.
Day 16: I raised grievance in the system. In the mean time , separation process was closed and all my access were denied after the few hours of my grievance request. I was out of the Organization.
Day 17: For my Grievance, another HR called me and stated in polishing words that “understood issue and will get back to me and another 2 days, later he also said that there is no other option as per Organization policy and should accept the Buyout option and pay for 3 months basic pay to get all the benefits including PF”
Fight for Rights
I was helpless on Day-17 and was struggling to overcome this unethical separation process from Top MNC of Asia. In the mean time received mail from Separation team to sign the document so that they can claim the buyout money of 3 months from my provident fund.
In this situation approached the NDLF-IT wing for their advice, they helped me to fight against unethical separation process and get all my benefits back.
As suggested by the Union I clearly understood the employee rights on separation process and decided to fight against the Organization about unethical separation process by holding Provident Fund and threatening me to accept the buyout option to get all my benefits.
As a start of my fight, written a detailed mail to all the Separation Team, senior HR’s and CEO of the Organization by addressing this unethical treatment and my concerns as below
Concern from me.
- Why I have been forced for buyout option when I am ready to serve the notice period? I have not requested for buyout option in any format of communication mail/phone. HR/Resource management team is taking advantage of personal situation of employee for their benefit. They were shouting and threatening me by saying “There is no other way” and holdin my Provident fund. This is really unethical as well bad manner to treat a long serviced woman associate.
- To Organization,
While celebrating golden years of success, the separation story of mine is very painful. I am seeking your attention/justice as am not sensing the proper/smooth response from regional HR team.
I am resigning for my personal reason not for another job. In that case forcing me to opt buyout and asking money by holding benefits including PF is really unfair. This is more painful and making me sleepless and stressed.
As an organisation portrayed to stand for woman empowerment, but here I am going through too much of stress, depression and struggle to complete my resignation process smoothly
As per normal process, I would get 3 month of salary. Because of this issue, not only lost my 3 months salary and I need to pay back for notice period short fall as well. This is like “giving punishment for uncommitted sin”.
Organization doesn’t have any rights to block the benefits and especially PF
After the such detailed mail from me to Top HR’s and CEO of the Organization, this issue is sorted out and they have accepted to consider the normal exit and released all my benefits including Provident fund.
Employee Rights on Provident Fund
As per Employee Provident Fund scheme, Employer doesn’t have any rights to holding or blocking the PF money under any circumstances of employee. Employer is responsible to facilitate the EPF scheme for all the employees and ensure the contribution from employees and employer are frequently deposited without fail.
Threatning by holding Provident fund which is unethical practice as per EPF scheme. (Source : https://www.epfindia.gov.in/site_docs/PDFs/Downloads_PDFs/EPFScheme.pdf)
Do We need CEO Attention ?
My case is resolved when I started fighting back by addressing to Senior HR’s and CEO. Do we need CEO attention for all the issues ?
I am trying to understand, why my separation process is proceeded in an unethical way and who is responsible for that, Account HR? Separation Team ? Organization Policy?
This is kind of infinity loop, where HR points to Organization Policy but in reality who is responsible for Organization policy. If CEO is responsible for Organization Policy, What is the motive behind keeping such unethical separation process.
From my pain story, I have learned that Organization never cares for the welfare of employees and always shows the green side to public and profitability to shareholder’s to keep them happy. But on the other side there is a dark side which is known only to their employees, who are really part of their growth.
The only way to make the organization behave responsibly and follow laws is to have a strong union to represent the interests of employee. Imagine, if I had given up 3 months of my hard earned money and quit without a fight, the organization would have profited even without anyone noticing the injustice.
NDLF IT union stood with me on this issue and educated me on my rights at organization, supported me to fight against this unethical practice to get my benefits back. So, it is our responsibility to support unionism , learn our rights, raise for our rights to fight against unethical practices in workplace and to get what we deserve.