Wipro Boss Gets “Hate Mail” After Firing 300 For “Moonlighting”

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New Delhi: Playing in a band over the weekend is different from secretly working for rivals, Wipro boss Rishad Premji underlined this week as the soap-to-tech business group said it has fired 300 employees for “moonlighting”. Some other tech majors — such as IBM, which has a huge presence in India, and the homegrown Infosys — have joined the chorus to call moonlighting “an unethical practice”.

“Cheating, plain and simple” is how Mr Premji described it. He said he is not deterred by hate mail he’s been getting over his tweet, The Times of India reported. And his company remained stern, too, in its latest statement: “Certain employees found to be operating in circumstances that are in direct conflict with Wipro’s interests have been terminated.”

Wipro’s Rishad Premji said that employees can have conversations around playing in a band or working on a project over the weekend; but sought to separate such cases from secretly working for competitors. “There is no space for someone to work for Wipro and competitor XYZ and they (the other company) would feel exactly the same way if they were to discover the same situation.”

Earlier this month, Infosys shot off a stern mail — titled “no double lives — to employees, saying: “No two timing — no moonlighting!” It cited clauses in the offer letter to drive home the point.

Employees are mostly quiet as they sign agreements with clauses against “conflict of interest” that can be described by the employer in varied ways. Since company-specific unions are mostly absent, these employees lack bargaining power too.

But social media is abuzz with a basic assertion: What one does beyond the contracted “work hours” should be none of anyone’s business.

A group of employees that calls itself the Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) has said Wipro’s move is unethical. NITES chief Harpreet Singh Saluja has said clauses in the offer letters and employment contracts deserve legal scrutiny.

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