Wipro Ltd has sacked some 300 employees for ‘moonlighting’ as the IT services firm toughens its stand against employees taking second jobs after working hours.
Its chairman Rishad Premji, who has been a vocal critic of Chandni Roshni, said the company has no room for any employee who prefers to work directly with rivals while on Wipro payroll.
“Moonlighting in its deepest form is a complete breach of integrity,” he said at an AIMA event.
Premji said, “The reality is that today there are people who are working for Wipro and working directly for one of our competitors and we have actually discovered 300 people in the last few months which is exactly that. are doing.”
Later when asked about the action taken against 300 employees, he said that services have been terminated in those specific cases of violation.
IT companies are concerned that employees taking secondary jobs after regular working hours will affect productivity, lead to conflicts of interest and potential data breaches. Premji has been an outspoken critic of it and has compared it as a “hoax” in recent times.
Last month he said on Twitter, “There’s a lot of bullshit in the tech industry about people who moonlight. It’s hoax – plain and simple.” His tweet created a strong backlash within the industry, with many IT companies defending themselves against such practices.
Infosys sent out a message to its employees last week, emphasizing that dual employment is not allowed, and warned that any breach of contract would trigger disciplinary action “which could even lead to termination of employment”.
“No two times – no moonlight!” India’s second largest IT services company Infosys had last week said in a strong and stern message to employees.
Infosys’ internal communication, titled “No Double Life”, had made it clear that “Dual employment is not allowed… Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct”.
It also cited relevant clauses in the offer letter to take the matter home.
“Any breach of these terms will result in disciplinary action, which may also result in termination of employment,” the Infosys mail said.
IBM India also joined the chorus on moonlight and termed it as an unethical practice.
IBM’s managing director for India and South Asia, Sandeep Patel, argued that at the time of joining, the company’s employees sign an agreement that they would only work for IBM.
“… However not everyone agreed.
Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani recently tweeted that it is important to keep up with the times and said, “I welcome disruption in the way we work”.
On Wednesday, Premji, speaking at the National Management Conference of AIMA (All India Management Association), sought to clear the air around why he took a strong stand on the Chandni issue, saying his opinion was “more Honestly that was how people interpreted it”.
Premji said he stood by his recent comments on moonlight being a complete breach of integrity “in its deepest form”, and cited instances where 300 employees were found working together for Wipro and its competitors. .
When asked about the action taken against employees working together for the company as well as rivals, Premji later said off the schedule that his employment was terminated for “acts of breach of integrity”. was.
The definition of moonlighting is about doing another job in secret. As part of the transparency, individuals can have candid and open conversations, such as playing in a band or “working on a project over the weekend”, he explained.
“It’s an open conversation about which organizations and individuals can make a solid choice, whether it works for them or doesn’t work for them as an organization,” he said.
Premji tried to separate such cases from cases where employees secretly worked for competitors as well, adding, “There is no place for anyone to work for Wipro and competitor XYZ and if they They’ll feel the exact same way when they explore the same situation.”
Premji said, “That’s what I meant… so I stand by what I said… I think if you are giving moonlight in that shape and form then it is a violation of integrity.”
Now with the headlines, some industry watchers are cautioning that employers may consider additional safeguards to protect proprietary information and operating models, especially where employees are working remotely.
Analysts say companies may also tighten the terms of exclusivity in employment contracts.