In the audio clip, an HR representative is heard saying that the company is undertaking "cost optimisation" initiatives.
In the backdrop of the Indian IT industry continuing to deny reports of mass layoffs, an employee of a tech firm has circulated a recording of his sacking, in which he was allegedly told to put in his papers as part of the company's "restructuring plans".
In the recording, a human resources executive can be heard asking the employee to resign as part of a “corporate decision”.
In the 6:45-minute long audio clip, the HR executive is asking the employee to put in his papers by 10 am the next day or his services at the company will be terminated.
Listen to the audio clip here:
“Cost optimisation is happening at the company and your name is part of that list. If you can put in papers we will be treating it as a normal exit with June 15 as last working day, if not, we will be sending you a termination letter,” the HR executive said.
This is followed by a few minutes of the employee trying to reason with the HR about such a short notice, his good performance in the past and lack of clarity and options in front of him.
She tells him that as part of the offer letter signed by all employees at the time of joining, the company reserves all rights to let the associates go whenever it wants, with the basic salary.
After some more haggling, and a round of “please understand my situation”, the conversation ends with the employee saying: “That’s very unfortunate madam.”
A screenshot of the LinkedIn profile of the HR manager, purportedly from Tech Mahindra, in the audio clip is also being circulated along with the recording.
When checked, the said profile was found to be unavailable on LinkedIn. However, one of the two managers named in the conversation was found to be a Bengaluru-based Tech Mahindra employee. But Moneycontrol could not locate the profile of the second manager mentioned in the footage.
Tech Mahindra did not reply to Moneycontrol’s email seeking comment on the authenticity of the tape.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the authenticity or timeline of the recording.
A Tech Mahindra employee who did not wish to be named said that the perception of people being laid off is weighing on employees’ minds within the company, but was unaware of any mass firing.
“But one thing is for sure — all bench people are getting laid off at most of the locations. Earlier people on bench used to get 60 days to find a project, but now we hear that time has been reduced to 20 days only,” the employee added.
The news of mass layoffs in the Indian IT industry has been doing the rounds for a few months now. While the industry and individual companies have consistently denied reports of mass layoffs, industry experts have conceded that there is a move to reduce the number of people on bench.
“Bench” is a layer of employees who are not assigned to projects, and kept ready for upcoming projects. As cost pressures increase, companies are looking at “just-in-time” hiring.
This is not the first time an employee has recorded an exit-related conversation. In January 2015, recording of a Chennai-based female employee of Tata Consultancy Services during her exit interview had surfaced.
Similarly, a Capgemini employee based in Gurgaon had recorded her exit interview and uploaded it on YouTube in May, where she can be heard having an argument with two company executives.
According to an industry expert who did not wish to be identified, IT companies are looking to let go of people on bench, those who have generic skills and those on projects where the company may not have visibility on getting more business from clients. Most of this exercise was carried out by companies in the April-June period.
“Legally, there is nothing the employees can do since they get paid basic salary for one, two or three months as per contract,” said this person.
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