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Moonlighting Divides IT Industry: As Wipro Fires 300 Employees, Here’s Who Said What

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Moonlighting, as a topic of discussion, has quickly gained traction in India as an employee was caught working for seven companies at once during the pandemic. Since then, companies have been divided regarding the issue — with moonlighting emerging as a tough challenge for the IT industry. The topic has especially recently prompted some strong reactions from IT chiefs across the country, with Wipro chairman Rishad Premji coming under fire of late for sharing that his company fired 300 employees for moonlighting. The IT major boss also received a ‘hate mail’ for the same following the news.

The definition of moonlighting itself is about having another job secretively.

As India’s industry continues to be divided on moonlighting, here are some reactions that top company chiefs have shared on the topic:

Rishad Premji: Wipro

Wipro chairman Rishad Premji has been a vocal critic of the practice of moonlighting. In a recent event, he said moonlighting is a “complete violation of integrity in its deepest form,” while sharing that Wipro had fired 300 employees for working secretly for competitors. Premji  has in the recent past equated it to “cheating”. Last month he took to Twitter to say, “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple.” His tweet evoked a strong response within the industry, with many IT companies raising their guard against such practices.

Sandip Patel: IBM

Sandip Patel, managing director for IBM India/South Asia, also shared negative feelings on moonlighting. “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],” he said when asked about his stand on the matter.

Infosys Executives

Infosys, last week, shot off a missive to its employees, emphasising that dual employment is not permitted, and warned that any violation of contract clauses will trigger disciplinary action “which could even lead to termination of employment”. “No two-timing – no moonlighting!” Infosys, India’s second-largest IT services company, had said in a strong and firm message to employees last week.

Infosys’ internal communication titled “no double lives” had made it clear that “dual employment is not permitted as per…Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct”. It also cited the relevant clause in the offer letter to drive home the point.

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

CP Gurnani: Tech Mahindra

While most companies condemned moonlighting, not everyone agreed with that view. Tech Mahindra CEO C P Gurnani tweeted recently that it is necessary to keep changing with the times and added, “I welcome disruption in the ways we work”.

“If you go by my word if someone is meeting the efficiency and productivity norms, and he wants to make some extra money as long as he is not committing fraud, he is not doing something against the values and ethics of his company, I have no problem. I would like to make it a policy. So, if you want to do it, cheers to that, but be open about it,” he said further at an event last month.

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