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Wipro sacks 300 employees for moonlighting; what Rishad Premji says


IT major Wipro on Wednesday (September 21) said it had terminated the services of 300 employees after the firm discovered that they were working for their competitors while still being on the payroll of the company.

“The reality is that there are people today working for Wipro and working directly for one of our competitors and we have actually discovered 300 people in the last few months who are doing exactly that,” Wipro’s executive chairman Rishad Premji said while speaking at AIMA’s (All India Management Association) National Management Convention.

Asked about the action taken against employees who were found to be working parallelly for the company as well as for rivals, Premji, on the sidelines of the event, said that their employment had been terminated for “act of integrity violation”.

Also read: Moonlighting isn’t infidelity or promiscuity; let’s not be squeamish

‘Open conversations’

The definition of moonlighting itself is about having another job secretively. As part of transparency, individuals can have candid and open conversations around playing in a band or “working on a project over the weekend”, he explained.

“That is an open conversation that the organisation and the individual can make a concerted choice about, on whether that works for them or doesn’t,” he said.

Separating such cases from those where employees secretly worked for competitors, the Wipro top boss made it clear “there is no space for someone to work for Wipro and competitor XYZ and they would feel exactly the same way if they were to discover the same situation.”

“That is what I meant…so I do stand by what I said…I do think it is violation of integrity if you are moonlighting in that shape and form,” he said.

Also read: Infosys warns employees on ‘moonlighting’; union terms letter ‘threatening’

The issue of ‘moonlighting’ (techies taking up side gigs to work more than one job at a time) has emerged as a big talking point after the Wipro chairman flagged the issue.

Premji had taken to Twitter recently to highlight the issue saying: “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple.”

The issue of moonlighting by tech professionals has ignited a fresh debate polarising opinions within the industry.

Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani tweeted recently that it is necessary to keep changing with the times and added “I welcome disruption in the ways we work”.

“I don’t think moonlighting is that rampant. There will always be a few cases… If someone is meeting the efficiency and productivity norms, and he wants to make some extra money as long as he is not committing fraud, he is not doing something against the values and ethics of his company, I have no problem. I would like to make it a policy. So, if you want to do it, cheers to that, but be open about it,” Gurnani said at Business Today’s event India @ 100 Economy Summit last month.

Also read: IT industry poised on razor’s edge over hiring talent, employee-related issues

Infosys warns employees

Many have, however, taken a strong stance on moonlighting.

Earlier this month, Infosys had shot off a missive to its employees, asserting that dual employment or ‘moonlighting’ is not permitted, and warned that any violation of contract clauses will trigger disciplinary action “which could even lead to termination of employment”.

“No two timing – no moonlighting!” India’s second-largest IT services company said in a strong and firm message to employees last week.

Infosys’ internal communication titled “no double lives” made it clear that “dual employment is not permitted as per…Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct”. It also cited the relevant clause in the offer letter to drive home the point.

“Any violation of these clauses will lead to disciplinary action which could even lead to termination of employment,” Infosys’ mail had said.

Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES), a Pune-based union, had strongly condemned the “threatening email” sent by Infosys to employees. It has argued that moonlighting “is not feasible” for a number of reasons.

(With Agency inputs)

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