Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Nagarkar Vinayak L
Hr And Employee Relations Consultant
Rkn61
Hr Manager
Pan Singh Dangwal
Joint Manager

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Anonymous
Dear Seniors, I was working in an IT services firm of 100+ employees in Noida until this Friday. It was in June 2020 it all started when I stood up for the right thing to the founders of my company (IT services firm with 100+ employees) and restoration of the HR department's respect. One of the founders used the word "Vindictive" for the HR department and since I was the head of HR, I had to stand up against the usage of words. I had supported my case with evidence that this word is wrongly used for us and has created unrest and loss of faith in me and my team.

Since founders are highly autocratic, they did not take raising voice in good spirits and started creating a hostile environment to me since then:

First, the founder directly asked me to resign because they didn't like my personality and behavior (which was by the way very professional & polite to them always)

When I denied quitting and told them 6 times that I am open to working out a solution, they then demoted me, changed my role, took away all my power, authority as a department head, took away all my Reporting's, made me to report to a person of my level, excluded me out of all the leadership meetings and decisions and made me to do work of a much junior person, all in the name of 'Organizational Restructuring'. Though the agenda behind all this was to force me to resign.

All this continued for good 4 months in their effort that someday I will get so humiliated that I will resign myself.

When they didn't succeed in their plan, they finally dictated that they are firing me on last Friday. Now, the problem is that I am pregnant and due in December. When I had informally informed about my pregnancy to my reporting manager towards the end of my second trimester (which was after all the above incidents had happened), she informed the management of my company about this, and then they created unjustified and unnecessary performance issues with me (for a month or so) to fire me just 2-3 days before I was about to request formally for my maternity leave, so that they don't have to pay me the maternity benefit. Now they are denying to give me the maternity benefit saying that we have fired you and therefore we will not giving you your maternity benefit.

PS: I had formally put a maternity leave request on the day they communicated the decision of firing to me! In this condition, I cannot take up some other job and be at a big financial setback! All this is causing huge mental and physical stress to me during pregnancy and also can cause harm to my unborn child.

I request you to please help me in this situation! The founder of this company is settled in Canada and he is also involved in this decision because he instructed them to take this course of action. He is the ultimate decision-maker in the company.

I really request your help/opinion/advice in getting me my rights as per the law of the land. I will be highly grateful! Please let me know if you need any more details of the case from me, I will be happy to share.

From India, New Delhi
Dear Anikta,

It is unfortunate to note what has happened to you. Alas, you could have approached this forum a little earlier.

You were the HR Head of the company. Therefore, a few employees from the HR Department must have reported to you. Consequently, provisions of I. D. Act, 1947 do not apply to you. Notwithstanding, non-applicability of the said act to you, I recommend you approaching the Labour Officer of your area. Though officially he is not supposed to take up your case, he/she might take it up. File a complaint there and let us see what happens.

If the labour office does not give the desired response, then you may approach the National Council for Women (NCW) of your area. But then their interest lies in handling sensitive cases like physical assault, harassment etc and it remains to be seen whether they will interest in your case.

The last resort is to file a suit against your employer. However, as you know that the civil cases drag on for the years together and it could take anything from 10 to 20 years to get a verdict.

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Thanks for your response but does this means that in India a female employee being deprived of fundamental right of maternity cannot get the lawful relief & justice?
From India, New Delhi
Dear Ankita,

It is not just the rights related to the maternity benefits, but the fundamental rights related to the employees are not just violated but trampled upon day in day out. This has been happening since 1947 and will continue to happen.

In India, "labour laws" is a plain misnomer. If the government starts calling it "employer laws" the better. For the violation of the laws, though the mechanism exists, it is too feeble or insignificant.

Recently the labour code was launched with much fanfare but nothing is there for the protection of the labour's right as such.

Let us not forget that employees of Kingfisher Airlines have not been paid their salaries since 2011. Do you think that a new Vijay Mallya will not run away leaving his employees high and dry? Certainly, it will happen.

Human rights in India is a big joke. Nevertheless, this joke brings tears in the eyes of the poor. Rich get away with it easily!

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear Ankita,

Although your termination as Head- HR appears too sudden, as per your contents of the post , the process had started four months' ago. So you must be aware of the game plan of your termination/ resignation.

During this time if you were pregnant , you should have sent intimation regarding same with Doctor's certificate and also your likely date of proceeding on Maternity leave as per th Maternity Benefit Act. If you had ensured this , you would have locked your services safely. Even thereafter the management terminated your services , it would be clear breach of the provisions of the MB Act. and you had legal remedy avaiable to you. Submitting maternity leave on the date of termination is cutting too fine and may not hold water.

You have lost the golden opportunity. Since you are managerial category of employee, you have no remedy avaiable under any labour laws.

You can file civil suit for your termination which has culminated after long harassment and mental torture to you and ask for damages. Also knock the doors of Local women's council for injustice and callous treatment meted out to you when you are about to start your motherhood.

Regards,

Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
Dear Ankita,
Though our learned senior member Mr Dinesh has provided very practical and realistic solution. I would like to add some important points:-
1. Any problem can't be bigger than a peaceful life. I understand what happened with you was of worse category, but the pregnancy phase for a woman is all the more important for herself and the family as well. Pls be noted such fight is not a single day decision. Moreover, the coming period will be more difficult for you. It could take time, multiple visits in Labour/Civil Court, lot of expenditure, and lost of mental peace also. So don't get panic, keep calm and take your decision keeping in view all aspects.
2. First take your family consent as well about the same. If all agree and give consent than choose the appropriate way. I will suggest to create some pressure through Labour Court. But if matter prolonged than you have to take call whether to file suit in civil court. As per my opinion your case is very strong and you can win the case. But it may be little / more difficult as well.
3. Pls clarify whether the company has issued any termination letter / email to you or not. Pls don't accept any such letter. If sent thru email, give appropriate reply with justified reason/s. I think company can't terminate employee (such higher cadre) without any due justified reason. If they don't allow you in the premises than write email to the management.
4. Pls confirm whether your office is located in Delhi. I usually go to various Labour Offices in Delhi for my company compliance matters. Though I don’t have any strong link, but I can ask them whether and at what level your case can be taken up.
5. First go through all aspects and If you agree to the labour court option. Than do let me know your office area.

From India, Delhi
Adding to the expert members' views and comments mentioned hereinabove, I would also like to contribute in your case that, whatever the communications by way of letter or emails sent by company to you and your replies - copies may be kept by you for future course of action - in case you decide to challenge your termination in Court of Law.
As learned members have promised to help you, you may please go ahead.

From India, Aizawl
Sincere thanks to the experts who have opined on this matter1 Really appreicate and more opinions are most welocme!

To clarify a few points here:

1. The company has a office in Noida but their registration falls in Delhi.

2. They have only sent an email stating that "my services have been discontinued with immediate effect" without mentioning any reasons in it.

3. Since they blocked all my official accesses immediately after the video call all the communication is happening to& from my personal email id, hence have all the copies.

4. To re-iterate, I was being forced to accept low ratings and be reflected as a poor performer (only for a month) to avoid the burden of maternity benefit. My RM informally knew about the pregnancy because earlier she used to be my friend at work and later being made my Reporting Manager.

There has been no PIP/Warning for termination even if the performance was so-called poor!

Regards

From India, New Delhi
Dear Ankita,

As I have already explained there are +/- points of every decision, before adding further I would again like to mention / remind some important points:-

1. Fighting for your rights/justice is good decision, but your case could be little hard. So think once again and take family consent. If all agree than go ahead, but you should be mentally prepared and make sure the circumstances / proceedings should not command over your mental peace and family atmosphere.



2. You have just faced the critical situation which influencing you to do so. I will advise if money is not a big problem for you and with your family earnings you can survive and afford your pregnancy than choose mental peace for you and your family. Coz I have seen in many cases when decision taken in hurry later it is difficult to come back.

3. In future this could be troublesome for you finding new job in other company. Coz generally management don’t recruit personnel who had such case history.

4. What is Company Delhi Registered address. There are separate area wise Divisional Labour Offices.

5. If matter not resolved thru mails / Labour office and you decide to file case thru any advocate, than you should be ready to bear advocate fees and other exp for a unknown period. Bcoz initially advocate promise to close the case in 2-3 hearing, but later it can take more time. Moreover, the management will also fight to their best.

Based on information, I would like share the below:-

In response to the firing mail, you should reply them this is not fair practice and not acceptable to you. You should add few more points:-

a) First of all check in r/o Termination/Resignation what clauses are mentioned in your Appointment Letter. If the company has not followed the clauses, than it is totally agst the Law. Mention this point in reply mail.

b) You have been working in higher post and despite your hard work management demoted you. This causes lost of mental peace and harassment.

c) The poor performance must be given after demoting you, what about your previous performance reviews. Since you were at higher level, so there must be some high rating given to you in your past appraisals. Gather information / documents and consider all this in reply mail.

d) Pls review once again each and every point of documents / mails available with you. Choose some important points and include in the mail. Moreover, if you file case thru any advocate than such information / docs play vital roles.

e) Accepting low rating can’t lead to dismissal. Coz you were agreed to work on revised terms.

f) Company has not followed “Natural Justice & its Principles”. Mention this point also in mail.

g). Last but most important you can add that you have verbally informed about the pregnancy to your RM. Hence dismissal of a pregnant women is violation of law under MB Act, 1961. If you have any test report or doctor prescription prior to your termination than mention the same in your mail.

In the last you can mention if the management will not compensate your rights and entitlements than you will legally challenge the same upto the highest level.

I am not any advocate/consultant, on basis of case study, all these are my personal opinions and suggestions.

Senior members can give more suggestions & ideas. There are number of advocate/consultant available in the Forum, you can contact/hire their services.

From India, Delhi
Any labor law lawyers in Noida/Delhi NCR having good experience with labor law violation cases against companies, please contact urgently on
There is no recourse left but to file a legal suit against my employer.

From India, Bhopal

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