Sexual harassment appeal case by TCS chennai employee – expecting the judgement soon
Joint press statement from all IT Employees’ Unions in Tamil Nadu
A chennai based TCS employee had faced sexual harassment by her TCS quality manager while on deputation in UK. The extreme victimization was forcing her to file a complaint with TCS – Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). ICC however didn’t follow any basic morals, mentally harassed the victim, tampered evidences, misinterpreted witness transcripts and defamed the victim in their ICC report.
When the victim appealed against this in Kancheepuram Labour Court, the TCS advocate had taken many number of hearings to consult with management and senior counsel and finally taken a stand of no counter and no objection. But in the background, TCS had encouraged the harasser to come to Court and argue towards dismissal of the appeal.
The harasser (i.e. the above mentioned quality manager) however was absent for six continuous hearings between November 6 2019 and 20 December 2019. He appeared on 8 January 2020 with a junior counsel and borrowed time for argument until 22 January 2020 under the pretext that his senior counsel is in Sabarimala.
On 22 January 2020, his senior counsel was nowhere to be seen, another junior lady counsel appeared and used unprofessional language in court and made allegations that the documents were filed in her back. But the actual fact is they were absent for 6 continuous hearings between 6 November 2019 and 20 December 2019. Nothing has stopped her client from receiving copies of documents when he appeared on 8 January 2020.
The victim had recently informed Court that she was released from her current project without any reason and sent to bench, TCS within two days had brought the associate in the same project owing to which the victim informed the court that the interim application earlier filed is not needed any more , To this the harasser counsel started arguing that victim has no right to ask for projects
The victim had left the harasser’s project long back and TCS as an employer has a role in assigning projects, same is the case with ICC since ICC is constituted by TCS and not the harasser, harasser advocate is unnecessarily interfering on victims project allocation as well as on matters related to ICC, further the harasser counsel had borrowed another date for argument.
It is very clear that their aim is to delay the case and tire the victim.
All these days the victim had only been requesting for her dignity and never insisted on any strict punishment for the harasser or financial compensation for the mental turmoil, but the long delay in receiving justice and unnecessary allegations were very unfair.
Representatives from the IT employees’ forums FITE, NDLF and Unite were present in the court.
The victim has been facing prolonged financial, emotional, health hardship and still performing well in TCS and receiving appreciations.
On behalf of IT employees across India, FITE, Unite and NDLF strongly condemn the ongoing delay in the case and the unprofessional behaviour of the Harasser advocate.
We demand that the ICC report should be set aside, also urge TCS to provide necessary support to the victim in balancing the ongoing court proceedings along with her regular project work and ensure the health of the victim is taken care of .
We will also like to add that the harasser gave the victim a ‘ C’ band (low rating in the year end performance appraisal) and TCS HR & TCS ICC had insulted the victim very badly in multiple meetings (ICC transcripts are available to substantiate this) however the same harasser has now given written statement in court that the victim had ‘Outperformed’ in work. We urge TCS to take strict action against the HR who handled the victims 2018 performance appraisal along with ICC chairperson for insulting the victim, TCS also needs to compensate the losses suffered by the victim because of this faulty performance rating.
Summary of the case :
1. It is to be noted that the victim has undergone great emotional turmoil in both the UK as well as India.
2. We as IT employees’ unions would like to insist on the need for the Vishaka Guidelines against Sexual Harassment at Workplace in all IT organizations, especially TCS top management should monitor the execution of these guidelines.
3. All IT organization has to ensure a fair and safe workplace environment and ICC nepotism has to be addressed by clear and transparent process mechanism.
4 . We urge TCS organization and the harasser to attend court hearings. We also request the Labour Court of Kancheepuram to dispense justice at the earliest. This judgement will insist confidence in several ladies crying silently in pain to open up and expose more incidents and also send a signal to ICC across several Indian software companies that mentally harassing and shaming the victim will be dealt with more firmly. Justice delayed is injustice.
Forum for IT Employees – FITE
Union of IT Employees – UNITE
NDLF IT Employees Wing