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Tech Mahindra gets HC notice for illegal layoffs amid HR audio clip fiasco

Tech Mahindra faces allegations of large-scale, illegal retrenchment of its employees in Hyderabad

Bhaswar Kumar  |  New Delhi 

Tech Mahindra
An employee sits at the front desk inside Tech Mahindra office building in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi

is in the again, this time over notices issued by the Hyderabad High Court to the state of Telangana, the state's labour department, and the (IT) major directing them to respond to the alleged unlawful retrenchments of software engineers employed by the firm. The development was reported by the Times of India on Tuesday. 

The legal notice comes in the back drop of the recent controversy at the IT major over a taped conversation between its human resource  (HR) management staff and an employee who was handed the pink slip. 

According to the national daily, Justice M S Ramachandra Rao gave the parties three weeks to file their replies to the allegations raised in a writ petition filed by four retrenched employees. 

Tech Mahindra's management faces allegations of large-scale and illegal retrenchment of its employees in Hyderabad, the report said, citing the submission made by the counsel for the retrenched employees before the court. 

The petitioners, the report added, had approached the labour commissioner under whose jurisdiction falls. Subsequently, the department set in motion a conciliation process. However, the company went ahead and terminated the petitioners' employment even as the process was underway. 

While is not the only IT major handing out pink slips in large numbers, a recently leaked audio clip has left it with a weak hand. ALSO READ: This is a nightmare for me: Techies outrage over IT layoffs on social media

As reported earlier, an audio clip circulated on SoundCloud, an online media library, supposedly by a employee who got fired on a day's notice has gone viral. In the sound clip, a HR executive is heard blaming the management for the abrupt decision of firing the employees on short notice. Further, the HR executive appeared to be threatening the employee that he would be fired if he did not resign the same day. 

In the aftermath of the clip going viral, the firm's parent group had to step in to do damage control. 

As reported earlier, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra apologised to the treatment meted out to the former employee from the audio tape, saying that the firm's core value was to preserve the dignity of the individual.

"I want to add my personal apology. Our core value is to preserve the dignity of the individual and we'll ensure this does not happen in future," Mahindra tweeted on Friday. 

The FITE is on

isn't alone in facing allegations of resorting to retrenchments and unfair terminations. Former employees from other IT majors like Cognizant, Wipro, and Syntel have also been alleging unfair and illegal termination on a very short notice following "cost optimisation" and "restructuring". The Forum of IT Employees (FITE) has been leading the fight on behalf of these employees.

Indian techies and IT workers have been feeling the squeeze for some time now with disruption in the sector, global headwinds and tightening visa norms forcing IT majors, domestic and international, to prune their workforces. 

FITE, a representative body of employees working in IT and call centres, has stepped in to lend a helping hand to these afflicted techies.

As reported in May this year, has approached labour commissions in Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad to submit petitions asking that the alleged "illegal terminations" happening at be stopped. The body has alleged that the US-based firm is illegally terminating thousands of employees by forcing them to resign.

First Published: Tue, July 11 2017. 13:22 IST