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Wipro fires 300 employees for moonlighting, NITES threats legal action

Moonlighting is a term used for those who clandestinely work for competing companies while being on a payroll for one company.

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Bengaluru: Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji on Wednesday said his company has removed 300 of its employees who were found to be moonlighting.

“It is very simple. It is an act of integrity violation. We terminated the services of those people,” Premji told a section of media on the sidelines of the 49th All India Management Association convention.

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Moonlighting is a term used for those who clandestinely work for competing companies while being on a payroll for one company. It simply means clandestinely working for more than one company at the same time.

Taking cognizance of the issue, Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) President Harpreet Singh Saluja termed Wipro’s move as unethical and threatened to take a legal course against the illegal clauses mentioned in the offer letter of IT sector employees.

The clauses mentioned in the offer letters and employment contracts need to be reviewed legally by the judiciary, he said.

“It is disappointing to hear the news that Wipro has fired around 300 employees in the name of Moonlighting. The arbitrary termination of employees is unethical and illegal, and NITES will leave no stone unturned to provide justice to aggrieved employees,” Saluja said.

However, Premji argued that moonlighting is cheating as it amounts to having a second job secretly, which is opposed to transparency. Wipro employees working secretly for it is a gross violation of integrity in its deepest form, he added. “There is no place for those employees who are working for more than one company who are our competitors,” Premji said.

Some IT companies differ with Premji. Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani had said he may be open to it if someone wants to make some extra money and is not committing fraud, and wanted employees to be open about the same.

Infosys too has objected to moonlighting and had sent to its employees titled “No Double Lives”, warning employees that they could lose their jobs if they indulged in this practice. Moonlighting is a violation of their employment agreement and the company strictly discourages dual employment, the mail read. 

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