TCS MeToo case: Company tacitly supporting accused, alleges union

The Union of IT and ITES Employees has alleged that the company is covertly punishing the complainant for speaking up by frequently changing her projects.
Representative image of sexual harassment
Representative image of sexual harassment
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It has been over three years since Revathi (name changed), an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), moved the labour court in Kancheepuram over an incident of alleged sexual harassment by her manager. According to Revathi, the manager harassed her in March 2018 when she was working on-site in the United Kingdom. Revathi had moved the court with an appeal against the handling of her complaint by TCS’s Internal Committee (IC). She alleged that the IC investigation was carried out in an unethical manner, and that despite her providing evidence to substantiate her claims, the committee had concluded that sexual harassment ‘could not be proven’. The Union of IT and ITES Employees (UNITE), which Revathi is a member of, has now alleged that the management of TCS has been lending tacit support to the accused manager through the course of the legal proceedings.

The union has alleged that the IT industry giant has shown bias towards the manager by facilitating his easier access to the internal correspondence between the complainant and the accused, which has been submitted as evidence in court. They’ve also accused the management of siding with the accused by giving him a stable position and a promotion, all while the complainant has been shuttled from project to project. 

Revanthi’s petition in the Labour Court asks for TCS’s IC report to be set aside, and for a fair re-investigation into her allegations. The case has been delayed and adjourned several times amid the pandemic. The most recent hearing was on September 12, when the court recorded the evidence submitted by Revathi and posted the matter for October 3. 

Both Revathi and the manager she has accused have continued to work at TCS till date. In a press statement, UNITE alleged that Revathi has been “punished” by the management for raising the complaint and taking it to court, with frequent changing of her projects. “The victim was recruited in one project then her role was degraded and she was released from the project. She had been transferred to multiple projects,” UNITE has alleged.  

“Frequent change in project required additional effort from the victim to learn and perform well, which she had done in spite of all the mental and physical hardships she is facing because of this court case,” UNITE said in its statement. On the other hand, documents submitted in the court recently by the manager showed that the manager’s designation had changed from ‘Associate Consultant’ to ‘Consultant’, indicating a promotion. Revathi has continued in her former designation, it said.

The union also alleged that TCS has shown bias in providing access to earlier correspondence between Revathi and the manager. As Revathi was released from the project she was working on at the time of alleged harassment, and has since been transferred to several projects during the period of case, she has been denied access to relevant correspondence, the UNITE statement said. However, the manager has been working in the same account during the course of the court case, and has been able to produce all mails easily, it said. 

“Right from the day of the harassment, the victim is struggling to get copies of her emails to produce during various inquiries, be it in the IC or in court. Alleged harasser had even submitted copies of office chat and email in CD. How TCS had enabled CD write access for him needs to be questioned, while the victim is denied even legitimate access to the emails for the purpose of arguing the case,” the union said.

TCS told TNM that it will not be able to comment on the matter as it is subjudice.

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