Wipro Fires 300 Employees for Moonlighting, Rishad Premji Calls it ‘Act of Integrity Violation’

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Wipro chairperson Rishad Premji said on Wednesday that the company had found 300 people to be moonlighting and working for competitors in the last few months, and iterated that there was no place for such people in Wipro. He later said that those employees were terminated by the company. The chief of the IT giant had earlier come under fire for comparing moonlighting to ‘cheating’, but said on the day that he would stand by his views on the matter.

Speaking at an AIMA event, Premji who has been a vocal critic of moonlighting, said that the tweet may have received a lot of flak but he meant it sincerely.

“If you actually look at the definition of Moonlighting, it is having a second job secretively…I’m all about transparency. As a part of transparency, individuals in organisations can have very candid conversations,” he said.

Premji said that action was taken against those who were moonlighting, and the said employees were terminated for “act of integrity violation”. “The reality is that there are people today working for Wipro and working directly for one of our competitors and we have actually discovered 300 people in the last few months who are doing exactly that,” Premji said terming it a “complete violation of integrity in its deepest form”.

Moonlighting means working for a second job while committing oneself to one’s primary workplace. Premji explained that transparency was necessary and one could work at other jobs like playing at a band or doing a project over the weekend.

“That’s an open conversation that the two adult individuals – the organisation and the individual – can make a concerted choice about whether that works for them or doesn’t work for them as an organisation,” he added.

“There is no space for someone to work for Wipro and competitor XYZ and they would feel exactly the same way if they were to discover the same situation,” the Wipro boss further said.

Premji reiterated that Wipro has no place for employees who want to work for a competitor, adding that the competitor may also feel the same way about the matter if they discovered that someone was moonlighting.

“I will stand by what I said. But I do think it’s a violation of integrity if you’re moonlighting in that shape and form,” he said.

The issue of ‘moonlighting’ has emerged as a big talking point in the IT industry ever since Premji flagged the issue in a tweet equating it to “cheating”. Premji had taken to Twitter recently to highlight the issue saying: “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple.” Premji’s tweet had evoked strong response within the industry, with many IT companies raising their guard on such practices.

Infosys, last week, shot off a missive to its employees, emphasising that dual employment or ‘moonlighting’ is not permitted, and warned that any violation of contract clauses will trigger disciplinary action “which could even lead to termination of employment”. “No two timing – no moonlighting!” Infosys, India’s second largest IT services company, had said in a strong and firm message to employees last week.

IBM’s managing director for India and South Asia Sandip Patel had reasoned that at the time of joining, the company’s employees sign an agreement saying they will be working only for IBM. “notwithstanding what people can do in the rest of their time, it is not ethically right to do that (moonlighting),” Patel had said. Not everyone agreed, though.

Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani tweeted recently that it is necessary to keep changing with the times and added, “I welcome disruption in the ways we work”.

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