I'm designated as Area Business Manager in MNC (Healthcare with 300 employee in India) & 14 Sales Executive (Co. Pay Roll) reports to me. Under Whistle blow policy I've informed HR Director about wrong & non compliant practices where higher management is involved with all documentary evidences. Within 10 days MD & HR came to my city & started interrogating me on false allegation against me without any information so I minute that incidence with all hypothetical allegations. Then they send ticket to come down to HO without any mail invitation & agenda. I went & they suggest me to stop all investigations & destroy all evidences, I resist so they forced me to resign. I didn't resign & came back. They immediately cancelled my return ticket & locked my Outlook express.
Reason that in Noncompliant job MD & his Director was involved.
Same evening on 7th MAR'14 they send termination letter on my personal mail id. Matter of letter is here "Refer to the discussions you had today at Head Office. Your services are being terminated with immediate effect. You were requested to handover all company assets to your supervisor. You willfully and knowingly left the office without handing over company assets. When called and requested to return to the office to return assets you again refused and are returning to your Home town. We are therefore constrained to file an official complaint for the recovery of our company assets."
Next day 8th Mar'14 I replied on same mail & denied to accept Termination without citing any reason. I wrote following, “ I do not accept this termination & keeping in view the procedural lapsation made herein during issuance of my termination letter. I hereby request you kindly withdraw this letter of termination of services which has been issued wrongfully & illegally immediately, failing which I'll be compelled to take shelter of relevant regulatory as well as judicial bodies to seek justice from all ends. Moreover request you kindly take note of the fact that I've not returned the company assets which are in my custody since the termination letter is itself null & vide. Awaiting your kind cooperation & respond in this regards.”
1 week later 14th Mar'14 HR replied “An internal office note to this effect was circulated for termination of the relationship in compliance with the requirement of Clause of Severance. It is the intention of communicating this decision that you’ve been flown to HO to meet your supervisor. The order passed by the management in effecting separation of relationship in a simplicitor manner and it’s appropriate and based on office note approved by management in this behalf 2 days earlier.” ( I didn't get any such office note).
Based on above reply I expressed them to return IT assets & replied “I'll handover all said assets under protest & without prejudice to my rights & contentions”. I expressed my Grievances relating to illegal termination & request for a fair opportunity of defense. I wrote to HR that“you have mentioned that I have been terminated as per the provisions of Severance Clause of my appointment letter. Severance Clause of my appointment letter states as follows:
"Your services can be terminated by the Company by giving you two months notice or two months’ salary in lieu of notice period. Similarly, in the event of your resignation, you shall give two months notice or salary in lieu of two months notice period. You shall not be entitled to adjust your pending leave / salary in lieu with the notice period unless so permitted by the Company. Unless otherwise directed by the Company, you will continue to discharge your duties during the entire notice period. Your resignation shall not be effective unless accepted.
If at any time in the opinion of the Company, which is final in this matter, you are insolvent or found guilty of dishonesty, disobedience, disorderly behavior, negligence, indiscipline, absent from duty without prior permission, committing a breach of any of the terms, conditions and stipulations contained in the appointment letter and on your part to be observed and performed or in violation of one or more terms of the said letter , or any other conduct considered by the Company detrimental to its interests , your services are liable to be terminated forthwith, without any notice / salary in lieu of notice period, without prejudice to any other action, rights or remedies available at law.
As per paragraph (1) of Severance Clause of the referred appointment letter dated it has been categorically mentioned that the Company is free to terminate me at any point of time subject to two months prior notice.
As per paragraph (2) of Severance Clause of such appointment letter it has been mentioned that the Company is at liberty to terminate upon establishment of the fact that there has been dishonesty, disobedience, disorderly behavior, negligence, indiscipline, absent from duty without prior permission, committing a breach of any of the terms, conditions and stipulations etc , at any point of time."
I Replied to HR:
"It is pertinent to mention here that neither any two months prior notice was served upon me, nor any allegation as mentioned in paragraph no. (2) of Severance clause was levied , communicated or established upon.
In case of allegations regarding dishonesty, disobedience, disorderly behavior, negligence, indiscipline, absent from duty without prior permission, committing a breach of any of the terms, conditions and stipulations if any, it is a settled point of law that such allegations ought to have been communicated to the person against whom they are made and such person should get a fair chance to defend himself.
I beg to state that no such allegations were ever communicated to me. Thus we can conclude that there are no such allegations. I was illegally and arbitrarily terminated.
I would also like to state that I have been forced by the Company to surrender my laptop , phone and i-pad which were given to me by the Company containing all relevant documents during my service. I have returned them without any prejudice to and reserving my rights. In these circumstances you are hereby requested to inform me that under which provision of Severance clause of my appointment , I was terminated.”
HR Replied on this on 28th Mar'14 follows:
“Please note that Severance Clause para 1 provides for termination by giving 2 month notice or 2 month salary in lieu of notice period. This clause is very specific. There is no requirement to give you 2 month notice before termination of services nor do you have any RIGHT to hearing any manner. You’re advised not to impute such types of allegations in your letter. Your notice pay will be release with full & final settlement. “
Can HR send this kind of termination letter without any show cause, domestic enquiry, and opportunity to defend the allegations?
How Can I challenge them in Civil Court? What should I do now? Please help me with your expertise advice.
What are the Chances of winning this case & How much time it will take to resolve?
Registered HO is in Gurgaon & Regional Office is in Kolkata, although Kolkata Office is not registered under Shop & establishment act & illegally carried out official procedures.
Asked 2 years ago in Labour from Kolkata, West Bengal
Challenge the illegal termination of services and letter of termination. seek reinstatement with all consequential dues and benefits. Feel free to call for any clarifications.
Advocate, New Delhi