uppanna
A friend of mine working in an IT company was stopped at the office entrance and asked to return the laptop and go back home.

She refused to do so and demanded the reasons from the IT administrator who was acting on the instructions of a Senior Manager.

As no reasons were forthcoming she dialed the boss only to be told very rudely to act as told and not argue as she was already serving her notice period that until 20th Nov, 16.

Since the office atmosphere was unfriendly, she came back home wrote a mail to the boss. The boss called up and apologized for his rude behaviour over phone and requested her not to attend office during the notice period but did not give reasons for such rash decision.

Not happy with the treatment she wrote an email in this regard. After several email exchanges the boss got frustrated and starting abusing the employee but still did not offer reasons. As this abusive email from the boss was marked CC to a senior boss, he stepped in and spoke to her over phone and apologized profusely for the entire episode. This is when she was told that the boss suspected that she was joining a competitor and hence wanted her to go.

She was surprised and confused because she had no such plans and made it to clear to the senior boss. The senior boss accepted this fact and asked her to come back to the office to serve her notice period with dignity. Her office email that was deactivated last week, was promised to be activated again today, but seems to have not happened so far.

There is no Confidentiality Agreement signed by her and in any case she is not joining any competitor. If the boss continues harassing her, what should she do to get back the respect in the office? Is this a civil or criminal case? Does tort law apply?

From India, Thane
pvenu1953@gmail.com
125

All is well that ends well. The issue is not worth pursuing any legal remedies; it will be more of a mental burden on you. After all, the management has taken care of the errant boss and has redeemed the situation.
From India, Kochi
uppanna
Many thanks for the insight Venu. I too have advised her the same. But the real pain of living through the situation is known only to her. It is just that she is hurt and what adds to the gloom is that all this has happened just two days after she became a PMP certified professional. Time will pass and things will be alright. Will ask her to find a new job and move on.
Many thanks once again.

From India, Thane
saswatabanerjee
2383

Frankly, what does it actually matter ?
She is Serving notice period. She is not planning to continue working there. I assume her boss has not assigned any work to her. Let her just speak to the higher authority in the company, get a written confirmation that she does not need to report to work for the rest of the notice period but needs to be available on call, and that her full and final settlement will include salary till end of the notice period. That's all. Nothing more is required.

From India, Mumbai
uppanna
Many thanks for the advice Banerjee. One of the director’s has called her for an "in camera" meeting next week. I think they may propose so
From India, Thane
uppanna
I think they may propose something similar to what you had suggested.
In any case she is going to maintain that she is no longer interested to work in that company.
I think everyone will second her decision because there is no point in working for companies where HR policies are non-existent.
Many thanks once again for the insight Banerjee.

From India, Thane
saswatabanerjee
2383

I do not think this has anything to do with HR Policies.

(ofcourse, now its just an academic discussion since the decision has been made)

The problem is with a specific manager.

And the problem is with your friend and her prior actions and behaviour that resulted the manager thinking that she is going to work for a rival and is passing on sensitive information to them during her notice period.

That does not give him a right to be abusive, and you will notice that the senior managers have taken note and corrective action on that part.

but the rest of the actions are very much within the rights of a company to take - ask someone not to report to work during notice period (commonly called gardening leave), disable official email and access to directory services and access to sensitive information that can be forwarded or taken away.

What you have not said, but is obvious to me is that your friend has said things to people or done something that makes people in the company (and definitely her immediate co-workers and seniors) think that she is going to competition. Many times employees confide with their "friends" in the work place and think the top management does not know what is happening, but that is rarely the case.

It does not matter whether you have an agreement not to join a competitor (which is illegal and not enforceable - discussed many times on the forum). The company and the manager has the right to ensure that a certain unreliable employee does not have access to sensitive data.

From India, Mumbai
uppanna
Mr. Bannerjee,
Thanks for ruminating further on the issue.
But major decisions like these cannot be based on individual opinions and hearsay. When the company has realized this and apologized profusely and has called her to resume work, it shows that they have erred. This is not a simple error but a breach of trust by the employer that has resulted in defamation of the employee.
Is it possible for the company management to send an open email to all employees apologizing for the mistreatment to one of their colleagues to restore her image? It is not possible. They may warn and chide the manager 'in camera' but nothing in the open.
When there is no material evidence to prove hurting the company of its interests (mere feeling is not enough), the only way to lay off an employee (if it is found necessary for whatever reasons) is through HR or one-to-one discussion citing reasons.
"Indignity" cannot be accepted under any circumstances unless it is a case of theft or thuggery.

From India, Thane
pvenu1953@gmail.com
125

Unfortunately, it is the situation in our country and society that the best way to ensure obedience among the employees is to instill a sense of insecurity among and the easiest option is to inflict indignity by overawing them. The postings in this forum reveal that even the so-called are not averse to resorting such means.
From India, Kochi
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