Wipro Fired 300 Found Moonlighting For Rivals: Chairman Rishad Premji

Wipro discovered 300 people in the last few months were working directly for competitors.
Wipro discovered 300 people in the last few months were working directly for competitors.

Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji on Wednesday said the company had found its 300 employees worked with one of its competitors at the same time, and added that action was taken in such cases by terminating their services.

Mr Premji asserted that he stands by his recent comments on moonlighting being a complete violation of integrity "in its deepest form".

"The reality is that there are people today working for Wipro and working directly for one of our competitors and we have actually discovered 300 people in the last few months who are doing exactly that," Mr Premji said speaking at AIMA's (All India Management Association) National Management Convention.

Asked about the action taken again employees who were found to be working parallely for the company as well as for rivals, Mr Premji, on the sidelines of the event, said that their employment had been terminated for "act of integrity violation".

The definition of moonlighting itself is about having another job secretively. As part of transparency, individuals can have candid and open conversations around playing in a band or "working on a project over the weekend", he explained.

"That is an open conversation that the organisation and the individual can make a concerted choice about, on whether that works for them or doesn't," he said.

Separating such cases from those where employees secretly worked for competitors, the Wipro top boss made it clear "there is no space for someone to work for Wipro and competitor XYZ and they would feel exactly the same way if they were to discover the same situation." "That is what I I do stand by what I said...I do think it is violation of integrity if you are moonlighting in that shape and form," he said.

The issue of 'moonlighting' (techies taking up side gigs to work more than one job at a time) has emerged as a big talking point after the Wipro chairman flagged the issue. Mr Premji had taken to Twitter recently to highlight the issue saying: "There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating - plain and simple."

The issue of moonlighting by tech professionals has ignited a fresh debate polarising opinions within the industry. Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani tweeted recently that it is necessary to keep changing with the times and added "I welcome disruption in the ways we work".

Many have, however, taken a strong stance on moonlighting. Earlier this month, Infosys had shot off a missive to its employees, asserting that dual employment or 'moonlighting' is not permitted, and warned that any violation of contract clauses will trigger disciplinary action "which could even lead to termination of employment".

"No two timing - no moonlighting!" India's second largest IT services company said in a strong and firm message to employees last week.

Infosys' internal communication titled "no double lives" made it clear that "dual employment is not permitted as per...Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct".

It also cited the relevant clause in the offer letter to drive home the point.

"Any violation of these clauses will lead to disciplinary action which could even lead to termination of employment," Infosys' mail had said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)