Source: Vagabomb. By Sukhmani Waraich.
Ex-Wipro Employee Told Her ‘Blouse Is Too Tight,’ Sues Company
A former employee of Wipro UK has sued the company for sexual harassment, discrimination, unequal pay and unfair dismissal. Shreya Ukil has claimed that Wipro has a “deeply predatory, misogynistic culture” and has filed a lawsuit claiming INR 12 crore in damages. At an employment tribunal hearing, Ms Ukil said male workers at the London office called women colleagues “lesbians,” boasted that they had invited escorts at sales conferences, and were encouraged to have affairs. During the hearing, Ms Ukil said that she was also forced to have an affair with an older senior executive. On a business trip to Stockholm in 2013, 54-year-old Manoj Punja allegedly told Ms Ukil that her blouse was “too tight” for her because of her “big breasts.” Ms Ukil alleges that he also told her that she was “like a seductive dancer from Indian mythology.” Ms Ukil says Mr Punja’s “aggressive sexual advances” and “complete abuse of power” forced to submit to him. She says she was later punished for submitting to his advances and for “daring to speak out.”
During the hearing at the employment tribunal, Shreya Ukil also said, “The culture within Wipro requires women to be subservient. Women who are confident, capable and express their viewpoints are often called emotional, psychotic or menopausal. Women who supported women are called lesbians.”
Ms Ukil also alleged pay disparity in Wipro UK saying she was paid half of what the male staff earned at the same position. She says that many women had left the company due to similar issues.
While accusing Wipro UK of blatant discrimination, Ms Ukil said that she was not invited to the company’s annual sales conference in Las Vegas in May 2012 but got the details of the event from a colleague who did attend. “He told me he was having a lot of fun because the main events at the sales events were getting drunk, visiting strip clubs, and attending some meetings,” said Ms Ukil. “I honestly believed that this was the main reason that I was not asked to attend. It was a boys’ outing. He also told me that the global head of the banking vertical got very drunk and misbehaved with one of the Mexican dancers during the conference.”
A statement issued by Wipro responding to the lawsuit said, “Wipro’s policy on conflict of interest requires employees to disclose to the organisation any personal relationship that could create conflict. Failure to disclose such relationships would result in disciplinary action including and up to separation. Following an impartial inquiry, both employees were relieved from services after it was established beyond reasonable doubt that they had violated the policy.”
According to the Economic Times, two-thirds of the companies on the Nifty have reported cases of sexual harassment in the previous financial year, with 80% of these in the Information Technology and banking sectors. At the top of this list is Wipro, with 100 cases of sexual harassment reported by its employees. If cases like Ms Ukil’s keep popping up, Wipro will have to do more than just internal inquiries and making statements to make sure women feel safe working for the technology giant. Wipro needs to get its act together if it doesn’t want to drive away a large talent pool among women.