Tech Mahindra gets HC notice for illegal layoffs amid HR audio clip fiasco

Tech Mahindra is in the news again, this time over notices issued by the Hyderabad High Court to the state of Telangana, the state’s labour department, and the information technology (IT) major directing them to respond to the alleged unlawful retrenchments of software engineers employed by the firm. The development was reported by the Times of India on Tuesday.

The legal notice comes in the back drop of the recent controversy at the IT major over a taped conversation between its human resource (HR) management staff and an employee who was handed the pink slip.

According to the national daily, Justice M S Ramachandra Rao gave the parties three weeks to file their replies to the allegations raised in a writ petition filed by four retrenched Tech Mahindra employees.

 

Tech Mahindra’s management faces allegations of large-scale and illegal retrenchment of its employees in Hyderabad, the report said, citing the submission made by the counsel for the retrenched employees before the court.

The petitioners, the report added, had approached the labour commissioner under whose jurisdiction Tech Mahindra falls. Subsequently, the department set in motion a conciliation process. However, the company went ahead and terminated the petitioners’ employment even as the process was underway.

While Tech Mahindra is not the only IT major handing out pink slips in large numbers, a recently leaked audio clip has left it with a weak hand. ALSO READ: This is a nightmare for me: Techies outrage over IT layoffs on social media

As reported earlier, an audio clip circulated on SoundCloud, an online media library, supposedly by a Tech Mahindra employee who got fired on a day’s notice has gone viral. In the sound clip, a Tech Mahindra HR executive is heard blaming the management for the abrupt decision of firing the employees on short notice. Further, the HR executive appeared to be threatening the employee that he would be fired if he did not resign the same day.

In the aftermath of the clip going viral, the firm’s parent group had to step in to do damage control.

As reported earlier, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra apologised to the treatment meted out to the former Tech Mahindra employee from the audio tape, saying that the firm’s core value was to preserve the dignity of the individual.

“I want to add my personal apology. Our core value is to preserve the dignity of the individual and we’ll ensure this does not happen in future,” Mahindra tweeted on Friday.

The FITE is on

Tech Mahindra isn’t alone in facing allegations of resorting to retrenchments and unfair terminations. Former employees from other IT majors like Cognizant, Wipro, and Syntel have also been alleging unfair and illegal termination on a very short notice following “cost optimisation” and “restructuring”. The Forum of IT Employees (FITE) has been leading the fight on behalf of these employees.

Indian techies and IT workers have been feeling the squeeze for some time now with disruption in the sector, global headwinds and tightening visa norms forcing IT majors, domestic and international, to prune their workforces.

FITE, a representative body of employees working in IT companies and call centres, has stepped in to lend a helping hand to these afflicted techies.

As reported in May this year, FITE has approached labour commissions in Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad to submit petitions asking that the alleged “illegal terminations” happening at Cognizant be stopped. The body has alleged that the US-based firm is illegally terminating thousands of employees by forcing them to resign.

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Tech Mahindra gets HC notice for illegal layoffs amid HR audio clip fiasco

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