TCS told to reinstate techie after 7 years, with continuity of service

“I would have travelled to the court more than 150 times in the last seven years, ” Thirumalai Selvan recalled adding that he was able to manage the ‘tiring’ legal battle with the help of FITE (Forum for IT employees), a labour union for techies.
TCS told to reinstate techie after 7 years, with continuity of service
Thirumalai Selvan

CHENNAI: A city court has given a birthday gift in advance for a former TCS techie, Thirumalai Selvan who will be celebrating his 47th birthday on June 18, the most joyous one for him in seven years.

In 2015, he was terminated by IT major, Tata Consultancy Services, after serving the company for more than eight years, as part of an alleged mass retrenchment.

Seven years and several court appearances later, a city labour court has ruled in his favour. The court junked the arguments put forth by TCS counsel that he was working in a managerial cadre and would not come under the category of ‘workman’.

“The reason for not mentioning the petitioner’s other duties is nothing but a subterfuge, to camouflage his principal nature of duty,” C Kumarappan, presiding officer, Principal Labour Court noted.

For the past seven years, he did odd jobs like real estate brokerage and as a freelance consultant on software projects, which didn’t pay much. His monthly earnings were reduced to less than Rs.10,000. The family managed with his savings and the salary of his wife, who works as a teacher.

A mechanical engineer by graduation, Thirumalai Selvan worked in his core sector for four years before switching to the software lane in 2001. After completing a course costing Rs 1 lakh, he joined TCS as an assistant systems engineer in 2006. The termination order came as a shock, but Thirumalai Selvan pushed himself to fight back.

“I would have travelled to the court more than 150 times in the last seven years, ” Thirumalai Selvan recalled adding that he was able to manage the ‘tiring’ legal battle with the help of FITE (Forum for IT employees), a labour union for techies.

In response to the appeal before the city labour court against the termination order, TCS submitted that he did not perform to the expectations of the role requirements and reiterated that he was a manager and not a workman.

After perusing the submissions by both sides, the court noted that Thirumalai Selvan was among a person in the team, maybe, first among the equals and held that the principal nature of Thirumalai Selvan is only skilled technical work.

The court directed TCS to reinstate the petitioner with continuity of service and pay back the full salary along with all other benefits from the date of his termination till the date of his reinstatement.

FITE welcomes labour court order

CHENNAI: Forum for IT Employees (FITE), in a statement, welcomed the court order. “The court order brings hope to more than 40 lakhs of workers in the IT sector in the country who wish to challenge the illegal terminations and unfair labour practices in the sector, ” Parimala, President, FITE said. The union asked the TCS management to reinstate the employee as early as possible as per the court order and also requested the State government to take necessary steps to ensure speedy delivery of justice in such cases.

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