Infosys on Tuesday, May 17, skipped its second meeting at the Labour Ministry where it was summoned over complaints regarding the non-compete clause in offer letters. It had been summoned after the Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) wrote to the ministry regarding the matter. The next date of hearing is May 26.
The meeting was attended by Labour Ministry officials and NITES president Harpreet Saluja. Saluja said the employee union submitted supporting evidence against Infosys and said that the non-compete is illegal.
This is the second time that representatives of the IT major have skipped the meeting. The first meeting was scheduled for April 28, at which Infosys said it had not received a copy of the grievance against it. When the meeting was rescheduled, the Central Labour Commissioner had attached a copy of the grievance and summoned officials for the May 17 hearing.
NITES had called the non-compete clause in offer letters of both IT and BPO employees â€śillegal and arbitraryâ€ť.
For IT employees, the non-compete clause states that for six months after leaving the company, the employee will not work with a customer they engaged within 12 months preceding them leaving the company. There is also an additional clause that for a period of six months after leaving the company, employees cannot accept an offer from a named competitor if it involves them working with a customer they worked with within the last 12 months at Infosys. Named competitors are TCS, Accenture, Cognizant, IBM, and Wipro.
Infosys had earlier said that the clause was standard business practice. It is standard practice â€śfor employment contracts to include controls of reasonable scope and duration to protect confidentiality of information, customer connection and other legitimate business interests,â€ť it said. While NITES had said that this deprives employees, Infosys claimed the clause does not have the effect of preventing employees from joining other organisations.