Kritarth Consulting
Posh Programs; Hr Management Consultants
Bhartiya Akhil
Freelancer
Nathrao
Insolvency N Gst Professional

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Anonymous
Hi all members, My friend joined the Company as a Software Trainee pursuant to an offer letter, whereby following terms were agreed (crux of offer letter and acknowledgement):-

1. For first 06 months (probation period), he will join as Software Trainee, and thereafter his performance will be reviewed and if found eligible, will be promoted as a Jr. Software Engineer.

2. The tenure of working with the Company will be 2.5 years, during which period he will not be allowed to leave the Company.

3. That my friend has submitted original educational certificates as contract security.

4. Certificates are releasable only after 2 years and 6 months.

Now, what blunder he has done is that when he got opportunity in much better Company, he left the former Company after a probation period of 06 months, and joined that another Company, without giving resignation (might be thinking that he will get duplicate copy of the certificates or whatever). When he later approached and requested the former Company to return his documents retained by them, they are demanding Rs.2 lakhs for it (Though it is not mentioned in offer letter).

Keeping in mind the above factual position, could anyone suggest me what would be the best option for him so that he can get his documents back, without paying such hefty amount?

Further, important things I want to know for my clarity as a prospective member of legal fraternity:-

What I think is that Agreement is one-sided - because 1) there is no clause of early termination, therefore no option for employee to terminate the contract, 2) there is no clause for penalty or liquidated damages in case the employee does not serve Company for entire contract period., 3) Right of Company to retain documents even if is agreed between Company and the employee (as now the employee is requesting to return documents).

What is the validity of such kind of contracts?

P.S.- I understand that it is ethically wrong to leave the Company after training period. I am just seeking your suggestions for my clarity also. Please bear with me.

Thanks in advance.

From India, Ghaziabad
Leaving aside the fact of of quitting without resignation, original certificates are personal property of your friend.
Company has no legal right to retain security in this fashion.
Is there a bond given by your "friend' and if so what are the terms of the bond.
What is the nature of training given by company?
Now suddenly realising agreement is one sided is of no use.
Full details of what is the terms and condition of employment need to be given.

From India, Pune
Retaining Original Academic Certificaates & Testimonials issued in favour & in the Name of Another Individial constitute "Stealing of Property" of the Owner for Which an FIR Need to be Lodged after the Owner of Certificates First Informs the One Withholding his Certificate of her/his Intention/Decision to Do so. Sychophants Need to be Penalized to Cleanse the Management Profession from Imposters in Management Domain.
Kritarth Consulting
12.7.2020

From India, Delhi
Hi Mr. Nathrao,

Thanks for ur reply. I am giving point-wise reply to your questions:-

1) Offer letter or bond - My friend joined the Company pursuant to offer letter. Title on subject of letter is OFFER LETTER, executed on the letter head of the Company, signed and accepted by my friend, NOT ON ANY STAMP PAPER. I am not very much clear whether it is bond or not.

2) Terms of Offer Letter- The terms relevant of offer letter, which I have mentioned in above post also-

1. For first 06 months (probation period), he will join as Software Trainee, and thereafter his performance will be reviewed and if found eligible, will be promoted as a Jr. Software Engineer.
2. The tenure of working with the Company will be 2.5 years, during which period he will not be allowed to leave the Company.
3. That my friend has submitted original educational certificates as contract security.
4. Certificates are releasable only after 2 years and 6 months.

3) It was simple training. They just gave a syllabus and questions to solve by learning from youtube, and ask doubts from senior. No specific training classes.

Throw more light on this. Thanks once again.

From India, Ghaziabad
Dear Chetan-Sharma1,
The employer has no authority to keep the original documents of employee. It is an illegal act.
The demand for payment of some amount shall be decided in terms of the agreement signed by employee and employer.
If the agreement specifically provides for payment of any compensation which is not otherwise illegal, then the employee is liable to pay such compensation at the time of resignation.
Compelling any employee to stay for particular period is also against the fundamental rights unless it has some reason to it.
The appointment letter is to be read minutely, its wordings, its construction etc. by the legal professional to arrive at any conclusion.
Prima facie it seems to me the appointment letter is bad in law. You need to consult any good advocate with all documents with you.
The employee is in grave mistake of leaving the employment abruptly for that he has to pay to the advocate or to the employer.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Bhartiya Akhil,

Thanks for your reply. You have touched my query well. The Offer Letter/Agreement is a very rigid in nature on the points it has covered;

It states that the employee shall be on probation for 6 months, thereafter his performance will be reviewed, if satisfied, he will be promoted to Jr. Software Engineer.

It states that the employee shall not leave the Company for a period of 2.5 years from the date of offer letter.

It has also been acknowledged by them vide separate Acknowledgement letter that they have retained such and such original documents, releasable only on the expiry of above period i.e. 2.5 years.

That's it....other clauses are like remuneration clause and increment in remuneration, which have no significance to mention here.

The Offer Letter/Agreement is completely silent on breach of agreement, any consequences thereof, no notice period clause is mentioned.

Thanks & Regards,

Chetan Sharma

From United States
Dear Chetan Sharma, Still you can not ignore your fault of leaving the employment abruptly. I said, it is a grave mistake on your part. Please consult any good advocate. All the best.
From India, Mumbai
Dear Bhartiya Akhil,
I agree to your point. He would be in a better position if he had given resignation. Its just my attempt to help him in getting his documents back without losing huge money which is in this case the Company demanding is Rs. 2 lacs. Anyway Thanks.
Regards,
Chetan Sharma

From United States
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