Dear Sir
Four employees were dismissed from Company for their grave misconducts. They are office bearers of a Trade Union. Now they are maligning the HR Head by posting nasty messages on Face Book. Is there any provision to take action under Trade Union Act apart from filing a defamation suit against them?.
Regards

From India, Kadapa
Dear Khaleel Saudagar,

The major issue found in your post is maligning the image of the HR Head on social media by the terminated employees. However, this activity has nothing to do with the Trade Union Act. It has to be handled separately. The HR Head may consult the company's legal team. They are the right people to guide him.

Since the HR Head's image is tarnished in social media, that does not mean that it is his personal problem. For the misconduct committed by the office bearers of the trade union, he had used his positional power in order to enforce the discipline in the company. Though the terminated employees are personally targeting him, the company should take up this matter on his behalf. It is not his problem, but the company's. Therefore, legal team of the company cannot remain a mute spectator to the maligning game being played out by a few unscrupulous ex-employees.

Your company has two options. The first one is to take legal action. The legal team may file a police complaint. Let the police pursue this case. If this option is exercised, then the plaint will be between a company and the ex-employees. This will help in keeping the HR Head out from the litigation. In the future, he may quit the company or even retire, but the case could continue.

Nevertheless, in India the court cases move at the slowest pace and filing a suit is a headache in itself. Therefore, the second option is to wait for a while and check whether or not the terminated employees cool down. Right now they are reacting. Every reaction need not be retaliated with the reaction from our side. Give them some time to subside their anger and possibly they may mend their ways. However, if they persist with their wayward behaviour, then the option of filing a police complaint can very well be exercised.

Dealing with the members of a labour union is always a challenge. It is more so for the office-bearers. Nevertheless, the HR Head rose to the occasion and by initiating disciplinary action, he has shown firmness to institute a culture of discipline in the company. Now it is time for the company to rise to the occasion and show firmness of equal measure by backing him. He cannot be left alone to fend for himself.

By the way, coming to the post itself. Are you the HR Head in question but have written the post as a third party? Whether you have written on behalf of the HR Head or otherwise, the noteworthy factor is the requirement to raise a post on the public forum. Generally, the people who accept the position of the HR Head in an unionised company are seasoned ones. They cut their teeth while dealing with the labour unions during the early stage of their career. In your company, has the HR Head not acquired competence through trial and experience of dealing with the labour unions?

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
KK!HR
1149

You can also take up with the respective social media for misusing their platform to defame and denigrate an official of the company and seek to block their access.
The immunity provided in the Trade Union Act 1923 is only for genuine trade union activities in furtherance of the union objectives and not for personal vendetta. So the case of defamation would lie. There is no provision in the Trade Union Act for the Registrar of Trade Unions to take cognizance of any deliberate misuse of the registration granted, however, you may consider making a complaint to the Registrar to deregister the union for the alleged acts, for whatever worth it is but it will surely put them in defensive mode.

From India, Mumbai
Once an employee is terminated due to any reason, the scope of initiating action under Service rules or Labour laws comes to an end. It is true that the terminated employee has option to file case against the employer if the former challenges his termination. But you cannot make a former employee follow the protocols of the company. Therefore, the only remedy available is filing a complaint against those who has posted deformative messages in the social media following the provisions of IT Acts. This can be done not as an HR Head but in his personal capacity. of course, he can use his company designation to strengthen or prove the hostility that the posters have with him.
From India, Kannur
मैं मधु सर से सहमत हूँ।
क्योंकि किसी भी कर्मचारी का कंपनी के साथ नियोक्ता और नौकर का रिश्ता तब तक होता है जब तक वह कंपनी में कार्यरत रहता है, लेकिन जिस कर्मचारी की सेवा बर्खास्त की गई है और कंपनी के बीच नौकर और नियोक्ता का रिश्ता नहीं होगा।
और इस मामले में के रूप में जैसा कि बर्खास्त कर्मचारी कर रहे हैं वो केवल मानसिक रूप से एच आर प्रबंधक को परेशान कर रहे हैं और शायद वो यही चाहते हैं की एच आर प्रबंधक द्वारा उनके बर्खास्तगी के सन्दर्भ में कोई प्रितिक्रिया दी जाये। मेरी सलाह यह है की एच आर प्रबंधक को उक्त मामले में कोई महत्व न दिया जाये और अगर वो देना भी चाहता है तो "जैसे को तैसा" वाला नियम लगाए। उन सभी बर्खास्त कर्मचारियों की सेवा मुक्ति का कारण , उनके चरित्र , कम्पनी के साथ उनके अनुचित व्यवहार के बारे में और जो कुछ भी उन लोगों के द्वारा अनैतिक कार्य किये गए हैं उन सबको सोशल मिडिया पर पोस्ट करें। ऐसा करने से उनके लिए भविष्य में कभी भी जॉब मिलना मुशिक्ल हो जायेगा बल्कि उन लोगों को भी उस पीड़ा का अहसास होगा जो वो एच आर प्रबंधक को दे रहे हैं।
दूसरी बात एच आर और आई आर की नौकरी होती ही है ऐसी समस्यायों का सामना करने के लिए। इस लिए घबराने की जरुरत नहीं।
हमें तब तक प्रोफेशनल तरीके से कार्य करना चाहिए जब तक सामने वाला उस तरीके से पेश आये अगर कोई अपनी मर्यादाओं को पार कर रहा है तो हमें इस बात का जरूर ध्यान रखना चाहिए की हम इंसान पहले हैं और बाकि सब बाद में। जिस तरह की प्रतिक्रिया आएगी उसका जवाब तरह से दिया जियेगा। बल्कि उस एच आर प्रबंधक को इस बात के लिए भी तैयार रहना चाहिये कि शायद उस पर हमला भी हो सकता है या और भी बहुत कुछ। लेकिन हमें हर तरह से तैयार रहना चाहिए। कभी कभी ऐसी स्थिति भी आएगी कि शायद कंपनी ही कह दे की ये आपका अपना व्यक्तिगत मामला है इसमें हम कुछ नहीं कर सकते.

From India, Rudarpur
nathrao
3101

Now these people are ex employees.
Legal department of your company can take a call on whether to ignore or take suitable legal action.
Legal department can issue a "cease and desist" letter to these elements warning of legal action in future for such campaigns.
Clarification can be put u if needed to explain the whole matter and the affected parties are just defaming or creating nuisance by false/twisted presentation of facts.

From India, Pune
Dear Khaleel,

I completely agree with Mr. Dinesh Divekar's views. Now a days, people are very active on social media and the only option available with corporates is to file defamation suits- Civil or Criminal.

To stop this nuisance on social media, the only alternative available with the company is to file individual Criminal Defamation suits against these ex-employees. If you believe that the union's office bearers- President /General Secretary, Vice President etc have instigated them to put such posts, then case should also be filed against such office bearers. If you google, you will get few case laws on this subject.

Before doing this, collect all the screen shots of their FB postings with their name, photo, time of postings and the matter that was posted should appear along with likes or comments made by others and take color print outs. This should be done secretly because if they come to know about the actions, they will delete their posts and you will not have any proof.

You should immediately lodge a police complaint along with the screen shots of the messages against these ex-employees and union office bearers if any and then proceed for Criminal Defamation suits.

If any of your on roll employees have passed loose comments on such posts or liked their posts, then you are free to take strict disciplinary actions against such employees also.

The moment the Criminal Defamation case comes up for hearing, the court can direct them to stop such postings on social media.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Sirs

I am extremely happy and fully satisfied with your valuable suggestions. Actually, I am a retired police officer ( Addl.Supdt.of Police (Rtd) and I have been working in our company since 2010. I am now holding the post of Chief Vig.Officer/Head-HR & Admin.
Thank you very much for your response.

Regards

From India, Kadapa

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