We are a software product development + consulting company and we hire people who are either freshers or upto 2 years of relevant work experience. On hiring, we provide the employees with offer letter, simple terms and conditions (like the employee must be willing to travel, etc) and we don't sign any contracts, agreements or bonds. Once the employee is onboard, we train the employees on various cutting edge technologies to be used either in the product development, testing, installations or in our software consulting practices. During this training the employees are remuneration and are
- exposed to the product source code
- shared with trade secrets (like customer information, product pricing, etc)
During the initial few years (or when the team size was small), we did not had any issues with employees. However, as we have started to grow, we are hiring a lot more new employees in our payroll. The problem is that, of late, after the training is completed or once the employee learns about the product or after getting to know about the trade secrets or getting trained on the cutting edge technologies, the employees all of a sudden resign from the company or just disappear.
Hence I would like to know what kind of legal protection can my company get? How can I penalize for the punitive damages made to the company? How can I stop my employees from either joining my customers or other companies in the similar line of business for a specified period of time (say, 4 years from the date of joining)?
Bottomline, we spend 1 or 2 years in training the employees to suit our business requirements. It is becoming a pain to see the employees runaway after we have spent so much of time, money, effort and other resources on them and it has started to affect our business. I was wondering how the indian labour/company law help or protect micro/small sized companies like us?