I do not know you are from what country. However, assuming that you are from some democratic country and assuming that principles of natural justice are valued in your country, I write this post. Let me give my comments against few paragraphs:
The nature of work is very research oriented and we make posts in public formum to gain more insights into product. Recently, I made a post wherein I shared the customers inputs regarding a particular behaviour of the product.
Comments: - Did you disclose the name of the customer? Will the disclosure impact the customer's business in any way? Did you violate the non-disclosure clause of the contract agreement in any way? If there was no such clause in the agreement then why your customer should raise the objection?
The customer who is an active member of the forum bought to our company's notice and said his information was leaked. I immediately agreed and told my Senior managers and above that we have been doing this for past 11 years and my Managers were also aware of this practice. The intent behind this was to get expert opinion and drive the problem towards quick solution.
Comments: - For how many years are you dealing with the customer? If for 11 long years you are writing in public forums about your research work, then why you did not include this clause in the contract agreement itself?
They decided to terminate me but after considering my experience, integrity and value added to the organisation, they came up with the punishment where I had to take a pay cut and designation cut (demotion) for six months. They said I will also be not eligible for the annual Bonus, which is heafty sum in itself.
Comments: - "Disclosure of company information", is a single misconduct (provided if it is proved). But then why three punishments are awarded for the single offense? In a country like India, this quantum of punishment can be challenged in a court of law.
I hope that they will not revisit my case and give me a more severe punishment because I put all the facts clearly in an email and also signed their warning letter stating there would be no further short coming from my end.
Comments: - For your post in the public forum, your customer had complained and for this you have been awarded punishment also. Now matter is settled. Unless some other customer raises the complaint why management should take action against you? It appears that you are tilting at windmill.
Dinesh V Divekar
From India, Bangalore
Thanks for the response.
I did not leak any customer information but I shared some observations he made on our product in a public forum of which he is an active member. Other members of the forum blowed it out of proportions though this customer was pretty composed. There is a meltdown on the issue though the ultimate intent was to serve customer in best interest.
They said given the nature of the offense and the fact that complications may still arise from this, they gave me three punishments of which the first two will be revoked after six months. I will get my designation back and also the pay. However, I will not be eligible for the Bonus.
I was told that a Senior Manager from other location took this decision but revisited based on my track record, value add, integrity etc.
This after me writing an email to the Board of Directors situated overseas. (I'm from India) And am ever so thankful to them because I love this profile and though I had other opportunities, I did not take them.
I also told them that it was a norm to represent company or seek expert opinion on such public forums which was passed on as a respectable practice which we can exercise when there is a stalemate in a problem situation. I now have email proofs of the same. I'm only looking at the eventuality of people identifying my posts using other IDs in same or different forums because after this incident came to light, I told them I shall never make a post on public forum about the company product again.
I hope to that I'm only tilting against the windmill and was assured by my managers too but I do not want to take a chance as I have already gone thru a lot. I just want this triumphant feeling of coming back to life stay for long time while I serve the organisation to the best of my abilities.
From India, Hyderabad
I am "Dinesh Divekar" and Dinakar. I request you to spell my name correctly.
Gentleman, if you are from India, then why you are writing at this forum now? You should have approached this forum well before you were awarded the punishment. Before awarding the punishment, did your company conduct domestic enquiry? If not, then even now also you can challenge the punishment. Awarding punishment without conducting domestic enquiry is violation of Article 411 of the constitution of India.
Coming to your acceptance of the punishment. From the theory of Organisation Behaviour, when I analyse the incident, I find that you have demonstrated affective commitment of the highest kind. Yes, every worker should have affective commitment. But in your case it appears to be excess one.
I recommend you approaching your company for revoking the punishment. If they do not agree then start looking out for another job. The quantum of punishment or decision to award the punishment itself shows management does not value you as much you value them. Once you get the job, you may file a suit against the company for not revoking the punishment. While case may drag on for considerable time, you may ask for suitable compensation for the mental harassment that arose out of the punishment.
Commitment is a two-way street. Management also should show commitment to their employees as much employees show to their organisation. In your case, they should have defended you when customer approached for the disclosure of the information in the public forum. To "satisfy" the customer, they have not just bent over backward but made you scapegoat too.
Final comments: - It is not just technical knowledge that matters. You should have taken cognisance of the disclosure norms of the company before writing articles in the public forums. You should have obtained formal permission for writing articles in the public forums. This explicit written permission could have avoided the imbroglio you are in. Under the provisions of Indian Contract Act, 1872 you could have ensured that clause of disclosure of information is included or excluded in the contract agreement.
From India, Bangalore
Sorry for getting your name wrong.
Regarding the Punsihment, I told my Managers that it was me who posted. So the enquiry took a back seat and captial punishment ensued I presume. But When I included the sequence of events where after the shortcoming, I kept my manager in the loop but there was no follow up after that and the customer went beserk on forums. Therefore I presume again that the termination order was revoked and other punishments were awarded.
My only question is if other posts from other IDs come to light (which I already told them I did and have been doing. Also have some email's in support from my previous Managers), will they revisit the punishment and more to the penalty?
I agreed and told them that I would never post on forums ever again and if I do, only as official representative. Most of my colleagues, overseas and hometurf reckoned such a revisit never happened in the company and were quite happy for me for there were lot of good words and mails being circulated to revisit the earlier decision in the first place.
But thanks for the advise and guidance. I hope the affective commitment will now stays two ways and I also continue to contribute to the best of my ability and passion.
From India, Hyderabad
To avoid furthermore consequences, if it is possible, try to delete those postings from the forums. you can also write to the site administrators of the respective website to remove your postings with valid justifications. This will avoid any such further troubles that may arise in future.
Going forward, if you delete such postings as soon as you resolve or find a remedy, I think you can save yourself from this kind of lateral issues.
From Oman, Muscat
Further to what Dinesh Divekar mentioned & suggested, all I can see is that seem to be living in a make-believe world of your own......NO pun intended pl.
I have seen quite a few such instances of hard-core techies plain forgetful/ignorant of the OTHER aspects/factors of any role he/she might be into. In fact, many Nobel laureates would be good examples of this trait.
In today's world that puts commercial interests FAR ABOVE the technical interests [since you are into research, I am sure you know it better], it's in YOUR interest that you follow some basic precepts/rules of the game--not so much as to follow the other sheep but to SAFEGUARD YOUR interest.
The only options you now seem to have are:
1] Like Kamaraj suggested, just delete the Postings that you think COULD cause future trouble for you.
2] Look for a new job ASAP.
All the Best.
From India, Hyderabad
Thanks for the inputs. If it was about finding a new job, I wouldn't have tried so hard to revoke the termination in the first place.
I agree that I could be tilting at the windmills as I placed all facts clear which made a revisit of the decision.
In furtherance, also accumulated email proofs which gave me such directions.
So hopefully as you guys opined things will fall in place.
From India, Hyderabad