KK!HR
Management Consultancy
Rkn61
Hr Manager
[email protected]
Retired Government Servant/advocate
Bhartiya Akhil
Freelancer

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Dear Senior Members,

I have been recently terminated on grounds which is absolutely false. During lockdown period, my salary for the month of April 2020 was held back, while all other employees received their salary. On writing to HR for salary, one fine morning I received an email which states as "trust and faith on you was used by you personally against the interests of the company. You are now under an investigation". When I replied back stating that this is not true, I received my Termination email as "This employment termination letter is to inform you that your employment with XYZ Pvt Ltd will end as of May XX, 2020. You are requested to return any company property, documents if any & IT spares in your possession within seventy-two hours from the receipt of this mail." I was not issued any notice for enquiry, neither I was presented with any show-cause letter, and neither was I given the opportunity to explain myself. When I demanded my withheld salary alongwith 1 month of Gross salary(I was in probation period), as per my Appointment letter, I was issued another email stating that the salary will be in abeyance till investigation over malafide act is completed.

My question(s) are :

a) No enquiry committee was setup, no show cause letter was issued, no chance was given to explain, the termination letter also does not indicate anything against me. Can they hold back my salary ?

b) Since my status is 'terminated', can they still continue with any kind of departmental investigation and falsely charge me ?

c) My family is under shock and trauma, can I have any legal remedies ?

Please help me by providing your advise and answers to my queries.

regards



I forgot to mention, I happened to be in a senior managerial position

Termination of a senior managerial personnel would be easier to a company than termination of a workman - as defined in Industrial Disputes Act.
Since you are on probation period, Company need not give any notice period for termination.
Generally speaking, company can terminate the services of a probationer immediately.
Whether any enquiry need to be conducted or not is purely a call on management.
It is suggested that you may personally discuss the matter with your reporting officer, in the presence of HR.

From India, Aizawl
I would like to respond pointwise to your queries as follows:

a. As a senior management personnel, you are governed by the conditions mentioned in the appointment order. Accordingly you are entitled to the salary for past month and the notice period. The issue of charges, formal enquiry and opportunity to defend yourself are all the rights of workmen which is unavailable to you. Withholding of salary pending investigation is not illegal although it cannot be for an indefinite period.

b. Yes, the investigation can be held although it would be ex-parte and your part of the story would not be considered. So you can put up your defence and mail it to all concerned.

c. There is civil remedy available to you for breach of contract. You can get compensation for wrong termination. But the process is long and cumbersome.

Hope the above clarifies

From India, Mumbai
In my understanding, the action of the employer is flawed. True, the service could be terminated at anytime during the probation period without assigning any reason; there is no due process to be followed. However, situation is quite different when wrong doing is alleged. If so, there needs to be a proceeding and inquiry strictly in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
Moreover, the employer has no right or authority once the employee has been terminated and the contract of employment has ceased to exist.
Thus the querist certainly has a cause for action.

From India, Kochi

@KK!HR Sir,
Can they still conduct an investigation after tgey have terminated me ? The very act of termination is stated to put an end to the employer-employee relation, pursuant to which the employer loses all jurisdiction over the employee.
Would invite your and other respected members' comments on this point.
Regards.


Yes, they can still hold enquiry without your presence, it will remain an ex-parte enquiry. It will be basically to collect more information and assess the culpability for the alleged offences. As you have not participated in it, its findings cannot be binding on you. But the right of the management to hold enquiry cannot be questioned.
From India, Mumbai

@KK!HR Sir, after issuing a termination letter, can they still force me to participate in the investigation/enquiry ? Regards


I also invite opinion from other respected members. Regards

In my views:
The termination seems to be bad in law;
The investigation after termination seems to be bad in law
in respect of employee whether he is managerial cadre or in non-managerial cadre. It is wrong to say that principal of natural justice is available only to non managerial cadre.
It is advised that the employee should consult any good advocate. However, the employee has to pass through lot of pains - mentally, financially and physically to get the justice.

From India, Mumbai

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