I am providing complete details of an incident that happened to me and for the sake of complete clarity I am also providing the evidences I had as attachments. With the evidence I am having, I am pretty sure and confident of getting justice. I want opinion as well as support of legal specialists in this forum as to how to proceed further in my case.
I was approached by a consultancy for the post of medical advisor in a multinational pharmaceutical company (Let us call it X) based at Mumbai in the month of March 2010. At that instance of time, I was having offers from 2 other pharmaceutical companies which were ready to offer the same compensation. I was residing at Hyderabad at that point of time. As the company X has good name in the pharmaceutical industry and as the future plans of the company appeared good, I finally agreed to join the company X from 7th April 2010. I was told that I will be under probation for the first 6 months and a contract was signed stating the terms and conditions. (See Attachment 1 for the contract)
The first month passed normally. I came to realize that although the company boasted of many things comparing itself with other MNCs, the resources, systems as well as policies, and practices were not up to the standards that we meet across in other MNCs, I was told that all the systems are being put into the practice and expansion is going to happen. As my job involves dealing with scientific resources from journals and use of document management software like Adobe Acrobat, I felt that at least these resources will be provided. However, I was told to use a pirated version of Acrobat 7 using a keygen to activate it. Moreover, the company did not have any subscripttion for scientific journals and hence all sorts of illegal methods were being encouraged to procure the articles. When I requested the same from my manager, I was told that these things will cost heavily and the budget allocation was not sufficient to meet all these demands. My salary was credited for the month of April 2010 in my ICICI bank account on the 30th of April. However, no pay slip was issued to me either by mail or by hand in spite of repeated requests.
In the month of May 2010, I was asked to handle some training classes for a period of 1 week held at a resort in the outskirts of Mumbai. These training classes happened from 18th to 24th of May. During one of the training sessions, the finance manager came to the venue to take a session. After the session, while having a formal chat with him, I noticed him behaving in an odd manner like frequently trying to make body contacts, making obscene gestures and trying to intentionally divert topics about p*rnography etc. I was taken aback by this behavior and although I started to think of complaining to my manager about this incident, I felt that I will be damaging that person’s career if the way I interpreted was wrong. So I remained silent. Again on the 26th of May 2010, I noticed the finance manager behaving in the same manner whenever he came near my work station. This time I really got upset and I went to my manager and informed the same to him. My manager assured me that he will take care of the situation and asked me to keep the matter confidential as it will become a big issue if things are made public.
The next day, I was called in the managing director’s room by my manager and I was told that by raising some issues, I am trying to disturb the integrity of the organization and moreover pointed out that I was not coming to office on time and if I am late to office again, they will start cutting my salary. The issue of the Finance manager was not even discussed during the meet. From then on, I started to concentrate more on my work and distanced myself from the gossip sessions that are very common in the organization. I was literally confused of what to speak and what not to speak and hence I felt that it is good to be silent and do my work.
I got surprised when my salary for the month of May 2010 was not credited into my bank account on the 31st of May which is usually the pay day in the organization. I did not receive the pay slip also for that month. When I asked my colleagues as to whether they received the salary, I was told that there will be a delay of 1 or 2 days as the salary for the month of May include the incentives also and hence may get delayed in processing. However, I did not receive the salary on the 1st of June also. On the 2nd of June, I sent a mail telling my manager about not receiving the salary for which I received no reply from him (See the attachment No.2). As my manager was promoted to the post of General Manager on the same day, I thought that he might be busy. I then received a call from my manger and he told me that he need to talk to me and asked me to remain in the office after 1730 hrs (end of business time of office). At 1730 hrs all the employees were called into the conference room and the promotion of my manager was announced. After the meeting ended when I went to my manager, he told me that he asked me just to wait for the announcement and there was no other specific reason. At the same time, I raised the topic of my salary not being credited and my manger said that as the finance people already left the office, he will talk to them next day (3rd June).
My manager was absent on the 3rd of June and hence I called the ICICI bank customer care to check if there was any problem with my bank account and hence in crediting my salary. I was told that my account is active and that the bank has not received any standing orders form the Finance and HR people to credit my salary. I immediately approached the finance manager who told me that he will check with the person who deals with salaries (the pay roll assistant) and will revert to me. In this way, I did not receive my salary on 3rd June also. From the night of 31st May to the night of 3rd June, every 4 hours, I was running to the ATM to check whether my salary was credited. This is my second month of stay and I have my post-dated checks which I paid as EMIs for the loans I previously took and I have my commitments like paying the rent of my room. I am sure you can imagine the distress I faced during the 4 days.
On the morning of 4th June, finding that the pay-roll assistant returned from her leave, I went to her and asked as to why the salary was not credited. She gave me a surprising look and told me that the salaries part of the month of May was totally looked after by the Finance manager. I asked her to please check once again. My manager arrived at around 1300 hrs on the 4th of June and called me to ask about the deliverables I was supposed to hand over that day. Once I sent him the deliverables by mail (See attachment no.3), he called me back and told me that he needs to talk to me once again and asked me to wait after 1730 hrs. I then went and talked with the pay-roll assistant who kept a vague expression on her face and told me to go and speak with the finance manager if I need any information regarding my salary.
By this time, the whole picture came in my mind that a game was being played by people and that my salary was withheld deliberately. At around 1700 hrs, I came to notice that my network permissions to the intranet were locked and I was unable to access any network drive. However my mail was working and hence to be on the safe side, I immediately forwarded all my mail communications which I thought will help me in defending me.
After 1730hrs on the 4th of June, I was called again into my Managing Directors room and was told that the company feels that I am very casual in my work attitude and was not maintaining regular discipline in terms of arriving to office on time. I was told that my salary was consciously withheld for the month of May 2010 and that I will be paid my salary if I agree to resign my post immediately. Already frustrated with the financial turmoil I was facing for the past 5 days, I became shocked after hearing the decision. All during my stay in the office, I was never given any warning or show cause notice pertaining to disciplinary matters or for anything else. I was asked to resign after I completed the work they required. I was told to sign a resignation letter and hand it over to them. My laptop was then confiscated immediately. I was warned that if I don’t resign, I will be terminated and I will not even get salary for the previous month. Having no other alternative, I was forced to submit a resignation letter (See attachment no.5). I was told that my full and final settlement will be immediately processed and was asked to wait to receive the same. After 1 hour, I was given a cheque for a sum of 40,000 thousand rupees which included the salary for the month of May 2010 and also for the 4 days for the month of June 2010. (See attachment no.4)
Now, if we see the whole issue, we can notice that the breach of contract has happened right on the day they stopped crediting my salary along with other employees. Secondly, I was constructively dismissed as retaliation for complaining s*xual harassment by the finance manager. Thirdly, in spite of consciously holding my salary, when I asked the reason, every one including my manager acted as if there was some problem with my bank account. My manger didn’t even care to reply for the mail I sent to him. No notice was served to me and no amount pertaining to the termination clause in the contract made while undertaking employment was paid to me in lieu of notice period. In the full and final settlement some amount was deducted as Provident fund and MGB (Minimum guaranteed Bonus). If we look at the contract, there is a specific clause which clearly mentions that MGB will be paid only after confirmation. The finance manager argues that MGB was paid to me earlier and hence they are recovering it back. Regarding PF, I was never given a pay slip for me to know what is my PF account number and whether the PF was deducted from my April salary also.
All I want to do is to see that the management of this company be taught a lesson which they cannot forget in their life time and which they won’t repeat in future. I want support from anybody who feels that what happened to me was not justifiable. I want support to teach all those private companies (Especially MNCs) who boast that they follow highest ethical standards but who in reality follow the meanest of the methods.