Boss2966
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Kritarth Consulting
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Raj Kumar Hansdah
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Samvedan
Consultancy_hr & Ir
Singhajeet77
Peoplesoft Hrms
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Friends,

I am putting up here a case which would attract professional opinions, references and suggestions from you experts so that we can identify the potential foul HR practices played at a IT giants' shop floor (part of $ 7bn Indian conglomerate). Let me submit information in a chronological manner within the same thread and hope sooner we will achieve a conclusion that will be a great help to Mr. A.

The incident dates back to March 2008. On March 30, A got hospitalized, and the next day he informed his supervisor and HR exec both from hospital's landline. He got discharged on April 5 with doctor's prescription of 7 days bed rest. Hospitalization expenses were borne by the employer's group medical insurance (Rs. 20,000/- paid to hospital on the day of discharge). On April 6, A finds himself to be terminated reason being absconding from work when he unofficially visits office. During this period no communication (formal or informal) was made to A from the company.

Where is A wrong? What A is supposed to do in this situation?

Hello,

Prima-facie Mr. A is NOT wrong.

He is just unfortunate that he worked with an uncouth emloyer!

Having said that, as a precaution (thinking after the event) he or someone on his behalf, could have sent a written information

about his being indisposed. He would have Hospital's papers, Bills, prescriptions etc. to prove that he was NOT ABSCONDING!

But if an organization has chosen to act in such a brazen manner, it is sheer misfortune for Mr. A.

Following courses are open to him still. Whether to follow these are not has to be entirely his own decision.

1) Make an appeal to the higher ups including the highest authority and leave the matter to your luck and his sense of values and ethics. Not that it will necessarily help, but why not try?)

2) If by reasons of the actual job Mr. A was performing, technically it is worth considering if he can proceed under labour by claiming himself to be a "workman" under Industrial Disputes Act 1947. But this is a dangerous option. If it works you will be watched by the entire industry as a bad boy! If you lose you are back to square one after spending you own money and time. You wil get bad publicity anyway even in this case. You have no remedy under civil law except against "breach of contract" (for which the facts must be in your favour and you should be willing to spend unestimated amount of time and money in pursuit of "justice").

Finally, based on the facts provided in your mail, if I were Mr. A, I would simply put the whole episode behind me, request for a clean chit for separation and look for another employment even if the clean chit request is turned down.

No other option comes to my mind at this stage anyway!

Regards

samvedan

January 2011

-----------------

A's job classifies him to be a Workman under Industrial Disputes Act 1947. A followed as per point 1 above and decides to protest again this ill-practice. On April 21, A reports this incident to other higher authorities within the company. After several round of telephonic conversations and; and management’s (from head office) intervention; finally on May 7, 2008, the Sr. HR manager (fuming by now who sits in local office and A’s work location) phones A and informs him about employer’s decision of A’s rejoining (he verbally claimed that the decision of rejoining was based on A’s past performance records). He asks A to visit office the next day, May 8. All the joining formalities are once again completed. A fresh appointment letter is issued to A with no mention of A’s past employment status with the company. No service certificate was issued for previous tenure and no back wages were discussed with A. A accepts it amicably and rejoins the establishment.

By now it has been established that

1) A is not wrong, and

2) A is victim.

Let’s discuss and help each other to draw some more conclusions with potential legal significance. Should we?

Hello,
If A's unjust treatment has been remedied internally he need not approach the Labour machinery/judiciary for the time being.
But can you throw some light on the full and final settlement A received? Was he entitled to Gratuity? Was it paid out?
Did he rejoin with "continuity of service" or without continuity? Even if he was not entitled to Gratuity, he will still stand to lose as once again he will have to complete 5 years to become eligible to Gratuity.
If he has accepted the rejoining as not being reinstatement with continuity of service, he has no grounds to complain.
He should represent to the higher authorities and claim his rightful dues if he has NOT given them up as an arrangement.
And if A has accepted what came his way, what is the point discussing this matter further, UNLESS YOU have any specific questions, or else the matter and this thread may rest here itself!
Regards
samvedan
January 4, 2011
----------------

Many thanks.

The main part of the story lies in 2nd term of employment which I will post subsequently.

To answer your points mentioned, A was not entitled to gratuity. Full and final statement was never released. And as he was given appointment letter afresh and on May 12 he re-joined without continuity in service.

My point here is that how unlawful and not ethical or illegal this was to discharge such a practice on company’s part. The company also had not provided any formal document pertaining to last employment status of A. Employer did not issued any termination letter and no formal documents related to separation were discharged and A did not receive the sum as per agreement's termination clause.

Which procedure of separation was followed by the company and whether such a procedure solely depends upon company’s internal policies and Law of Land has nothing to do with this.

Also, the company claims to be a CMMI level 5 and PCMMI level 5 certified one and many similar incidents were reported to be happened there one and again and which questions their level 5 status!

Greetings,

I agree with Samvedan where he stated that , if A have been redeemed why are we discussing this now? In addition to this, I find a gap in the information sharing . We understand when A was hospitalized, hence was not in the condition to inform methodically. When A had informed the HR and Reporting manager, why any reply from the supervisor and the HR affirming the leave not received? The discussion through the land line cannot seem customary , when it was such a prime incident reporting.

Ideally , in IT firms when a hospitalization case gets reported , few activities are almost auto triggered. First is mediclaim initiation, for cashless facility. Second is to have a team member or a reporting leader have visited the patient in the hospital. When these things were not happening, why did A not raise an alarm? Does n't this show an information or at least a perception gap? When an organization initiates Cashless for an employee, its impossible for the organization to terminate the employee . The employee can resume work on fitness certification by the doctor.

I fail to understand how the supervisor or the HR was allowed to get an idea that this might be a blatant lie? A wouldn't have to fight any case , if the reporting was established at the beginning stage. I am not sure what was A's condition, but an email with the incident could have been sent by any team member A worked with. That would have evaded every room for doubt as the supervisor and the HR would have responded to it .

Finally why is A worried now ? The appointment letter form the first time hiring is there , so is the second time hiring. The gap can be easily explained as there are medical certificates on hospitalization. Hence this is self explanatory to the future employer. So what is A worried now ?

Regards,
(Cite Contribution)

Thanks (Cite Contribution),

As I had mentioned that the main part of story lies in 2nd term of employment. If we can, we will be discussing many HR related policies, procedures and their discharge during 2nd term. The purpose of discussion here is to identify the irresponsible treatment given by employer, incorrect procedures followed by it. The consequences with legal significance that would have arisen out of employer’s discharge of foul practices and how effectively HR was expected to handle it when the matter was brought to its notice.

You have mentioned the gap in information supplied. Here comes the personal grudges of the supervisor against A and so he took this as an opportunity to harass A and a possible chance to throw him out of company; and that is why he did not update others.

The hospitalization was cashless and as it was intimated to TPA by hospital authorities the day of hospitalization (March 30), so the associated process was initiated the same day and final payments to hospital were made on day of discharge (April 5). Notable fact is that the termination was said to be processed on April 2. And, I have never known to a situation where a team member or a person with supervisory authority had ever visited officially a colleague admitted in a hospital for treatment. In case of illness we normally call our supervisor to report sickness and the same was done in this case.

Comments please.

Thanks
Ajeet Singh

Dear Ajeet,

The case stands clear. When the cashless facility was initiated, there is no ground that the employee can be terminated in the due course. When the employee had reported to work post the discharged from the hospital , was there any time difference? I mean a day or a two gap anywhere in between which have not been recorded or reported?

Reporting managers visits employee in case of hospitalization. In case they cant the team members does it . But there is an official visit for spot inspection. Its a must part of the incident reporting. If you have not seen it anywhere, its non-adherence to the procedure. But then, A cannot prove this. The process documents , I am sure are not made available to the employees. So no point in referring to it now.

The cashless initiation is a legal proof. which supports the employee remained in the payrolls of the company. Does A have any document supporting this initiation. or at least mentioned it in the discharge papers ?

Regards,

(Cite Contribution)


1. There was no time difference. A was discharged from hospital on evening of April 5 and he visited the office the next morning (although not to report to work as he was advised in writing for a 7 days bed rest).
2. As per my understanding, A need not to prove whether spot inspection was made or not. When he arrived at hospital and a need for hospitalization was recognized, A was admitted and TPA was informed by hospital authorities and subsequently TPA or concerned authorities took care of hospital payments. Total medical bill incurred was of about Rs 21,000 and on day of discharge A was asked to pay little part of the amount (less than Rs. 500 and this was the amount not covered by mediclaim policy) and so was paid by A in cash. A carries all the papers where a mention of employer and its mediclaim vendor related information has also been provided.

I had been following this since the day it was posted; but refrained from commenting, as I find it to be a simple straight forward case - and not a proper case ctudy (as the ones used in B-schools).

Despite the valuable inputs by our senior members, I admit my ignorance in not being able to comprehend its complexities.

An employee, on being sick, gets hospitalized (March 30) and gets discharged after a week (April 5) with an advice of further rest of a week.

However, he gets terminated on the eighth day (April 6) for "absconding".

This is despite the fact that he can avail Sick Leave, as his absence is justified and well-documented. (It is immaterial who picked up his hospital bills).

No good/ethical company/HR would do so (for an absence of just 7 days); without examining the matter or giving an opportunity to the employee to explain.

The employee had duly communicated this to the Management through phone.

I wonder what would have happened; had the employee been hit by a vehicle and would have been lying unconscious in a hospital for a week !!

Perhaps such a management would have hanged him from the nearest pole !!

It is a clear case of victimization and high-handedness by certain companies.


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