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Wipro Fired 300 Staff Found Working With Rivals at the Same Time: Rishad Premji

Wipro chairman Rishad Premji, who has been a vocal critic of moonlighting, the practice of techies taking up side gigs to work more than one job at a time, said that the firm had no place for such employees.

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New Delhi: Wipro chairman Rishad Premji on Wednesday, September 21 said that the company has found 300 people to be moonlighting and working with one of its competitors at the same time, terming it a “complete violation of integrity in its deepest form”.

Speaking at an AIMA event, Premji, who has been a vocal critic of moonlighting, the practice of techies taking up side gigs to work more than one job at a time, said that the company had no place for such employees, Press Trust of India reported.

Asked about the action taken against employees who were working simultaneously for the company as well as for rivals, Premji, on the sidelines of the event later, told the news agency that their employment had been terminated for “act of integrity violation”.

The definition of moonlighting itself is about having another job secretively. As part of transparency, individuals can have candid and open conversations around, say, playing in a band or working “on a project over the weekend”, he explained.

“That is an open conversation which the organisation and the individual can make a concerted choice about whether that works for them or doesn’t work for them as an organisation,” he said.

Premji sought to differentiate such cases from those where employees secretly also worked for competitors, and said: “There is no space for someone to work for Wipro and competitor XYZ and they would feel exactly the same way if they were to discover the same situation.”

“That is what I meant…so I do stand by what I said…I do think it is violation of integrity if you are moonlighting in that shape and form,” Premji said.

With the vexed issue now in the spotlight, some industry watchers have been cautioning that employers may consider extra safeguards to protect proprietary information and operating models, especially where employees are working remotely. Companies, analysts have said, could also turn tougher on exclusivity clauses in employment contracts.

Other IT firms have also joined the chorus on moonlighting, terming it an unethical practice.

IBM’s managing director for India and South Asia, Sandip Patel, had said that at the time of joining, the company’s employees sign an agreement saying they will be working only for IBM. “…notwithstanding what people can do in the rest of their time, it is not ethically right to do that (moonlighting),” Patel had said.

Infosys’s internal communication titled ‘No double lives’ had made it clear that “dual employment is not permitted as per…employee handbook and code of conduct”.

“Any violation of these clauses will lead to disciplinary action which could even lead to termination of employment,” the company had said.

However, Tech Mahindra chief executive C.P. Gurnani had tweeted saying that it is necessary to keep changing with the times. He added, “I welcome disruption in the ways we work.”