The Hyderabad High Court has issued notices to IT major Tech Mahindra as well as the Telangana state government, and its labour department after four of Tech Mahindra’s retrenched employees filed a writ petition claiming that the company had fired them illegally.
Justice M S Ramachandra Rao asked Tech Mahindra to explain why a direction to take back the ousted petitioners (who were let go as part of a cost optimization drive) in service shall not be passed. He also asked the principal secretary of Telangana’s Labour and Employment Department to explain why it did not verify whether the action was legal or not.
The court has given three weeks of time to Tech Mahindra and the state government to reply to the notices.
In the petition, the retrenched employees stated that they had earlier approached the labour commissioner Ranga Reddy, who is yet to conclude the reconciliation proceedings. The petition alleges that the labour commissioner did not take the case seriously. The employees also claimed that they were finding it hard to sustain themselves, financially.
The counsel for the laid off employees said to the court that the mass layoffs being carried out by the Tech Mahindra management were illegal. He also told the court that the HR department of the company was pressurising employees to submit their resignations, in a manner that made them look like voluntary separations.
This development comes less than a week after a sound recording of a Tech Mahindra employee being forced to resign was released on social media. Anand Mahindra and CP Gurnani had apologized for the incident on Twitter, and the company had issued an official statement, saying: “We have become aware of the incident involving a conversation between an employee and a Company HR representative. We deeply regret the manner in which the conversation took place, and have taken corrective steps to ensure that this does not happen again in future.”