From Anonymous
I have been working with a IT company(500+ employee strength) in Pune. Have been always a good performer.Not to mention have a lot of performance based awards. I am 10 weeks pregnant as of now. Suddenly today I got a mail from HR mentioning that my performance is not good and will be monitored for 30 days. In similar cases previously employees have been asked to resign after the 30 day monitoring period. I am sure the HR and management is doing this just to get rid of me so they won't have to pay the maternity benefits. Can someone suggest me the legal things that can work in my favour in case they opt to terminate me.
4th November 2016 From India, Pune

Dinesh Divekar
India, Bangalore
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Pvenu1953@gmail.com
India, Kochi
Retired Government Servant/advocate
+1 Other

Dear friend,

What has happened with you is unfortunate. These are the times when you supposed to be tension free. On the contrary, new developments have increased your worry. Anyway, we need little more information so that we do not give any kind of wrong advice. Please confirm the following:

a) When did you join the current company? How many years passed? What is your designation? How many persons report to you?

b) Is there any change in the type of work that you do? If yes, when did this change has taken place?

c) Is there change of your Manager? How are your relations with him/her?

d) Now a days, IT companies are laying off manpower because of automation, robotics and so on. Has something similar happened in your field? The technology that you are working, is it getting outdated?

e) In the mail that you have received, is there any information about under-performance? By what per cent you have under-performed?

f) HR tells that you will kept under watch for the next 30 days. What if your performance does not improve in this period? Have they specified anything?

g) Have you intimated officially about your pregnancy to HR? If yes, then how did you intimate?

h) What are the terms of your appointment? How many days notice period is mentioned in the appointment letter?

Please give replies to the above questions. We would not like to give solutions unless complete facts of the case are understood.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar
4th November 2016 From India, Bangalore
Thanks for your quick reply Dinesh. Please find the answers for your questions below,

a) When did you join the current company? How many years passed? What is your designation? How many persons report to you?

- 17 Months. No one reports to me as I am the only one working on my domain here as of now. Lead kind of role

b) Is there any change in the type of work that you do? If yes, when did this change has taken place?

- have been doing the same kind of work since day one.

c) Is there change of your Manager? How are your relations with him/her?

- no change in manager. Relation are good but I don't trust him entirely to be on my side and go against the HR and management.

d) Now a days, IT companies are laying off manpower because of automation, robotics and so on. Has something similar happened in your field? The technology that you are working, is it getting outdated?

- No

e) In the mail that you have received, is there any information about under-performance? By what per cent you have under-performed?

- No such information. Just mentioned that performance is not as expected.

f) HR tells that you will kept under watch for the next 30 days. What if your performance does not improve in this period? Have they specified anything?

- have not specified anything. Just from the past experience in this company I infer that they layoff after the 30 day thing. I see a good chance of them going for termination due to their sudden change in behaviour.

g) Have you intimated officially about your pregnancy to HR? If yes, then how did you intimate?

- orally

h) What are the terms of your appointment? How many days notice period is mentioned in the appointment letter?

- 30 days .

Please let me know if you any more details.
4th November 2016 From India, Pune
Dear Saarahh,

As your HR department has not communicated to you anything about under-performance, I recommend you writing a mail to them and asking clarification on under what parameters the performance was below the level. Include your past achievements in this mail. Secondly, also mention that your Manager has never given any feedback anytime on your under-performance. Therefore, what is the source of their information?

Going by the replies of your post, prima facie it appears that mail from HR could be a ploy to remove you. However, it is too early to make final conclusion.

Nobody reports to you is a positive feature of your case. You will be considered as "workman" under the provisions of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 and if need be, you may approach Labour Officer of your area to explain the case of harassment.However, wait till you receive reply to your mail. In the meanwhile, find out where is the Labour Office where your company is located, go there and understand overall how do they take up cases of labours, visiting hours, how the complaints are made etc. When there is actual need to put up application, you may write application in English need to talk in Marathi. If you do not know this language then you need to take someone with you who knows Maharashtra's official language.

By the way, 30-day is just a monitoring period. However, should it be considered as countdown? Overall what is the culture of your company? How the people are removed? Are they given notice period on and above this monitoring period or both are merged together?

In the meanwhile, start taking printouts of all the communication with the HR Department. Keeping records in the hard copies is always important.

Let me reiterate about maintaining calm and tension free when you are carrying. Healthy development of foetus is important and for this no one but yourself is responsible.

For HR Professionals: - While sending official communication to the employee on under-performance, not mentioning the parameters of under-performance or not providing the evidence of under-performance is unprofessional. That this should happen in IT company, a sector is well-known to look down upon other sectors, speaks volumes. These type of emails are never sent by lower level employees. Even if sent, these are sent with countenance of higher HR officials. That they are also equally unprofessional. This is highly reprehensible.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar
4th November 2016 From India, Bangalore
Dear Saarahh,

This is in addition to my second reply. In my second post, I have written that you may seek clarification on your under-performance. However, going beyond clarification, you may mention about your latest Performance Appraisal (PA). Who conducted the PA, when it was conducted and what was your score (provided it has been officially communicated to you. If you have concrete evidence of "Very Good" performance, you may seek withdrawal of this letter.

Before sending clarification letter talk to your Manager. Find out his views on the letter from HR. Find out whether he takes position on behalf of employer or on your behalf or he is sitting on the fence.

If you do not receive any reply to your letter or if the reply was evasive, ask for the appointment with Head HR. Carry smartphone with you and smartly do the audio recording. In fact you may record all the discussion whether it happens with your Manager or anybody from HR or Head HR itself.

Through a separate letter, give a notice of your pregnancy to your employer. Attach medical certificate from the gynaecologist to this letter. Intimate estimated date of pregnancy as told by the gynaecologist.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar
5th November 2016 From India, Bangalore
While giving notice of pregnancy, you may also state that this has already been informed orally to such and such person(s).
5th November 2016 From India, Kochi
 

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