In a positive development for Indian IT professionals in the country, the Hyderabad High Court on Monday served notice to Tech Mahindra after four of its retrenched employees had moved court over illegal terminations by the company.
The notices have also been sent to Government of Telangana, Commissioner of Labour and Deputy Commissioner of Labour, Hyderabad.
"Over the last two months, more than 70 techies from different organisations have filed petitions with the Labour Commissioner against illegal terminations. It is a very positive development that the High Court took cognisance of the happenings in the IT industry," said Praveen Chandrahas, a volunteer with the Forum of IT Professionals (ForIT).
ForIT, a Hyderabad-based group that works for the rights of IT professionals, supported the four techies to file petitions, first with the Labour Commissioner and then with the HC.
The petitioners alleged that their services were terminated illegally and that they were given no notice before they were asked to leave the company.
Satish M*, one of the petitioners, worked with the IT major for nearly eight years before he was asked to leave the company suddenly a few months ago.
When he asked for a reason, he was told that the decision had been taken by the management after taking into account the ratings given to him by his manager.
"However, when I checked with my manager, the ratings that the HR had shown me were different from what my manager had given me. When I brought this to the notice of the organisation, they told me the decision had already been taken and that nothing could be done now," Satish told The News Minute.
Though his project was supposed to end in November 2017, it was cut short and he was relieved in May, he added.
"These days, every morning after waking up, I check different sites for job openings. But in the current market, it is difficult to get jobs," said Satish, who has a wife and two children to support.
Satya Prasad, a senior advocate representing the techies, explained that a Government Order (GO) exempted the IT sector in the state from Labour Laws. Though last year the High Court put a stay on the GO, but it is still being followed.
"They (techies) approached the Labour Commissioner first. However, he kept giving adjournments to the company and the company too was taking its own time on one or the other pretext. We then filed a writ petition seeking directions for the Labour Commissioner to interfere and take appropriate action to reinstate all of them," he said.
"Exempting a sector from Labour Laws is unconstitutional. A legislation cannot be restrictive in its operations, especially in a way that it is benefiting only the employers," Prasad stated.
He also mentioned that Section 47 of the Telangana Shops and Establishment Act, 1988, states that the services of an employee cannot be terminated when the reconciliation process is going on.
The next hearing is after two weeks.
"We have reached out to Tech Mahindra seeking a comment. This copy will be updated when we receive a response."
(*Name changed to protect identity)