‘Moonlighting is violation of trust’: Sandip Patel, MD, IBM tells staff

IBM’s MD is of the opinion that if an employee advances his/her personal interest “at the expense of IBMs interest, it will be treated as violation of trust”

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Another technology firm has taken a stance against the practice of ‘moonlighting.’ Sandip Patel, MD, IBM India has sent an email to all employees expressing his views on the practice. In his email, Patel mentions that IBM has very clear policies against moonlighting, that is, pursuing a second job in addition to a full-time job.

He points out that as per the code of conduct of the Company, IBM employees are not allowed to work ? outside their working hours ? on projects that may create a conflict of interest for the Company.

“IBM’s employment contract requires that employees refrain from engaging in any other employment or business in any role or capacity and not compete with IBM.

IBMs business conduct guidelines (BCG) also make it clear under guidelines 7.1 and 7.2 while an IBMers time outside is their own, it also requires them to avoid engaging in activities that create a conflict of interest with IBM’s business. IBM’s BCGs highlight that providing assistance to a competitor in any capacity is a clear conflict of interest,” writes Patel in an e-mail HRKatha also verified.

Further, Patel says in the mail that though IBM encourages its employees to bring their true selves to work and celebrates their passion in art, dance or music, if it is found to be in conflict of the interest of the Company, it will be treated as a serious violation of trust.

In Patel’s words, “Your passion, whether it is art, dance or music is celebrated here. However, if you advance a personal interest, whether directly or indirectly, at the expense of IBMs interest, it is treated as a serious conflict of interest and a violation of trust”.

Further, Patel says in the mail that even if employees want to pursue working with a non-profit organisation or undertake philanthropic activities outside of work, they need to take prior approval from the management.

Hitting back at this, Harpreet Saluja, president, Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) strongly condemned IBM’s moonlighting email.

According to Saluja, it is time for IT organisations to stop treating IT employees as slaves or bonded labour. He feels the mail is proof of IBM’s “capitalist mindset”. By imposing restrictions on the employees in terms of pursuing their interests, Saluja feels that the Company is “trying to capture and restrict the thought process of employees”.

The fact that the employees have to seek the Company’s permission if they wish to support an NGO or philanthropic activity in their personal time is “clearly a violation of human rights and personal liberty,” felt Saluja.

He also enumerated that the “Right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Indian Constitution.”

Recently, Infosys came up with a policy allowing employees to take up gig projects outside of work after obtaining the management’s approval. Wipro, on the other hand, fired 300 employees after they were found to be moonlighting.

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