Industry

Tech Mahindra sacks homophobic supervisor

A view of Tech Mahindra office. File

A view of Tech Mahindra office. File   | Photo Credit: P.V. Sivakumar

On the heels of a Twitter exchange, the IT-BPO major has let go of a discriminating employee

Information technology company, Tech Mahindra has on the back of a sustained former employee’s sustained Twitter campaign, sacked a senior company official in charge of Training and the Diversity portfolio — paying heed to a serious complaint of discrimination in the workplace.

The 34-year-old Mr. Gaurav Pramanik who is now based in Darjeeling, West Bengal, was an employee of Tech Mahindra BSG in Noida from 2012 to 2016 – and had written to his former supervisor in question — Ms. Richa Gautam post the September 6 Supreme Court verdict that partially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

A professional trainer, Mr. Pramanik’s missive, specifically recalls a meeting in which Ms. Gautam rebuked a staff member by calling him ‘gay’ for crying. Mr. Pramanik, who spoke to The Hindu over phone from Darjeeling, also called out Ms. Gautam’s Islamophobia at the workplace. Mr Pramanik says, “My email was not meant to malign or cast any aspersions on the company but to call out one person.” Ms. Gautam is described by the BPO’s website as heading Training and the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Office.

Last night at around 10 p.m., Tech Mahindra announced on their Twitter account: “@gauravpramanik, arising out of an investigation carried out in the matter, the concerned employee has been separated from the employment of the company with immediate effect. At Tech Mahindra, we believe in diversity & inclusion & condemn discrimination of any kind in the workplace.”

The action follows the involvement of Mr. Anand Mahindra, Chairperson of the Mahindra and Mr. C.P. Gurnani, CEO and MD of Tech Mahindra who tweeted in support of inclusivity. The company’s website page that displayed Ms Gautam’s credentials as heading Training and the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Office is no longer available on the Internet.

The Hindu spoke to Mr. Pramanik who is now based in Darjeeling about Tech Mahindra’s response to his Twitter campaign, “A friend sent me a link to the tweet, late last night,” he said. He added that there had been no official communication from Tech Mahindra so far. “I would have expected (the CEO) Mr. Gurnani to reach out in some way as he had tweeted to me last week.”

When asked about what possible role he sees himself in the future as regards a “MeToo-like” campaign against discrimination and harassment against the LGBTQI+ community, Mr Pramanik said, “First let’s wait for Tech Mahindra’s official response. But since I have opened Pandora’s Box, I wouldn't mind working on calling out the bigots.”

This Twitter exchange and its result is probably one of the first visible outcomes of the Supreme Court’s decision to partially strike down Section 377 with regards to consensual sex on September 6.

A company spokesperson said that, at the moment Tech Mahindra had nothing further to add to the tweet from their official Twitter handle addressed to Mr. Pramanik.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 10:57:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/tech-mahindra-sacks-homophobic-supervisor/article24960726.ece

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