Cognizant layoff plea closed in favour of sacked staff, says Telangana Joint Labour Commissioner Chandra Shekaram
The Cognizant layoff case has been closed in favour of employees and the company has been asked to hold talks one-on-one to resolve the issue.
"We have closed the case in favour of affected employees and suggested the company management to continue everybody and hold one-on-one discussion to resolve the issue," Telangana Joint Labour Commissioner Chandra Shekaram told PTI on Saturday over phone from Hyderabad.
As many as eight employees had filed petition with the labour department, complaining against Cognizant for forced resignation as the company went ahead with a performance-based human resource review.
"Yesterday, a team from Cognizant met the joint commissioner of labour in Hyderabad," the Cognizant spokesperson said. "We reiterated that allegations about employees being forced to resign are totally unfounded. Cognizant has not conducted any layoffs and changes resulting from the company's performance review process are consistent with the standard practice that has been followed by the IT industry for many years."
The labour department has also advised the company management to give one more opportunity for the petitioners to prove themselves, Shekaram said.
"We have also advised the management to give all eight employees one more opportunity to prove their mettle," he added.
The labour department also has advised employees not to resign, Shekaram said.
"We have advised the employees not to tender resignation because once they did that they would lose their right to petition us or move labour courts. A sacked employee has all the right to contest his termination," he argued.
Out of the eight petitioners, three had resigned and "we have asked them to withdraw their resignations" for contention.
"The company has also accepted considering revoking resignations of the three employees and engaging them in discussions," he added.
The company has not been given any timeline to resolve the matter.
FITE, a representative body of employees working with IT companies and call centres, had alleged that the US-based firm is illegally terminating thousands of employees by forcing them to resign. It held that highly-paid experienced professionals are being replaced by those with lesser experience and lower pay.
To a query, Shekaram said that if the employees are still unhappy with the outcome of the discussions, they can revert to the labour department or move the labour court.
"If they revert to us, we will try to deal the case within the parameters of the Industrial Disputes Act and take stern action. If the company has been found violating, we will punish them," he said.
"Generally, it is not easy to terminate an employee," he warned.
Under fire for its 'employee separation package', Cognizant President Rajeev Mehta had said the company has not made any layoffs, but conducted performance reviews to reflect on the work of last year and ensure the goals for the subsequent year are clear.
He also contended that the software player had offered the employee separation package in India and the US for the first time, unlike its peers, who keep taking such steps regularly.
It has rolled out a 'voluntary separation programme' for directors, associate vice-presidents and senior V-Ps, offering them 6-9 months of salary to make way for the new generation to move up the chain.