Wipro, India’s fourth-largest IT company by turnover, is facing a Rs 10-crore (£1 million) sexual harassment case filed by a former employee based in London, UK.
The 39-year-old employee has accused Wipro of fostering ‘predatory and misogynistic’ culture, which forced her to work at half the salary of her male peers, and have a forced sexual relationship with an elder colleague. According to media reports in the UK, in documents filed with the employment tribunal, the woman employee has claimed that she was forced to leave the company.
According to the documents, the employee ‘submitted to aggressive sexual advances’ from her 54-year-old married boss Manoj Punja after she was transferred to London from Bengaluru in 2010.
Both Punja and the woman employee could not be reached for comments.
Punja, a former head of Wipro BPO, resigned last year for reasons that were not disclosed. Wipro, however, said on Wednesday that both (Punja and the women employee) were fired from their respective jobs for having a relationship and not informing the company about it.
The woman is now suing Wipro for sex and race discrimination, victimisation, sexual harassment, unfair and wrongful dismissal. Following the alleged harassment, she said that she resigned from her job in September last year and was fired by the company a week later.
“Wipro’s policy on conflict of interest requires employees to disclose to the organisation any personal relationship that could create conflict. Failure to disclose such relationships would result in disciplinary action including and up to separation. Following an impartial inquiry, both employees were relieved from services after it was established beyond reasonable doubt that they had violated the policy,” Wipro said in its statement.
“Wipro takes serious objection to the scurrilous allegations made against the company and will initiate legal action to defend itself against insidious and defamatory allegations. The company has built its business over the years by ensuring it adheres to the highest standards of integrity, fairness, and ethical corporate practices. Any transgression of these beliefs and policies are dealt with srictest action,” the statement added.
(A previous version of this copy wrongly reported the lawsuit amount as Rs 120 crore. The amount has now been corrected to Rs 10 crore.)