Will IT employees facing mass retrenchment/lay-offs/salary cuts get any relief from the SC

In a public interest litigation filed by National Information Technology Employees Sena (NITES) and Adv. Rajesh Inamdar seekingimplementation of advisories issued by Ministry of Labour and Employment on March 20, 2020 and Central Government Order dated March 29, 2020,  the apex court (Coram: Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and BR Gavai)  agreed to examine the issue regarding mass termination of employees and withholding or illegal deduction of salaries in IT/ITES/BPO/KPI by their employers amidst COVID -19 lockdown on May 15, 2020.

Petitioners alleged that many companies across the country have started to terminate its employees and withholding their salaries and illegal deductions in salaries, in spite of the orders/advisories/ directions issued by the Central and State Government. Petitioners seek to protect the fundamental rights of the employees under Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 21.

Petitioners have sought interference of the Central Government in order to ensure that the companies do not engage into mass termination of its employees and also to ensure that employees are paid their salaries during this COVID-19 pandemic. Petitioners have also sought direction from the Supreme Court seeking direction to initiate action against all companies, which violated such orders/directions under section 51 and 58 of Disaster Management Act, 2005.

In month of March, April and May, it is alleged that many companies like Teleperformance Global Services Limited, AMDOCS, System Plus, Quess Corp, e-Zest, HCL and Collabera terminated their employees due to financial emergencies arisen because of COVID-19 pandemic. The matter is going to be heard next on 15th May, 2020 and will decide the fate of IT employees facing double crisis of losing jobs amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

By

Amit Singh | Abhay Nevagi & Associates, Advocate