IBM India Warns All Employees Against Moonlighting; This Is How Employee Union Reacted

In a recent report, the Indian IT major, IBM India has issued a word of caution to its employees, not to moonlight without following proper procedures. 

IBM India Warns All Employees Against Moonlighting; This Is How Employee Union Reacted

IBM Moonlighting Policy

IBM India MD Sandip Patel reiterated the company’s stance and policies on moonlighting, in an internal email to employees.

Further discouraged it, as well as any personal activities undertaken at the expense of IBM’s interests.

Patel noted that he wanted to be clear with his employees about the “much talked about” topic of moonlighting, adding that it could create a lot of confusion if not explained at a granular level.

He said, “Simply put, ‘moonlighting’ is commonly referred to as having a second job in addition to one’s regular, full-time employment,”.

For the unaware, it’s not the first time Patel spoke about moonlighting. 

Against Dual Employment

Prior to this, Patel said that he agreed with Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji’s view on moonlighting and that he was against dual employment, calling it “not ethically right” during the company’s flagship event, ‘Think 2022,’ in September.

As per the IBM’s employment contract, it requires employees to refrain from being involved in any other employment or business in any role or capacity, particularly if it is a competitor, while employed with IBM.

Avoiding Conflict Of Interest

The note said, “IBM’s Business Conduct Guidelines (BCGs) also make it clear under Guidelines 7.1 and 7.2 that while an IBMers’ time outside of work 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,”.

Further adding, “At IBM, our stance has always been clear: we encourage every IBMer to bring their whole selves to work. Your passion – be it for art, dance, or music is celebrated here, and in that spirit, we’d love to see you pursue your interests. However, if you advance a personal interest, whether directly or indirectly, at the expense of IBM’s interests, it is treated as a serious conflict of interest and a violation of trust,”.

While talking about the violation of such policies, Patel said that  an employee is allowed to run a small business, but doing so during work hours at IBM will interfere with the employee’s official duties to the company.

Adding, ”IBM’s policy is also fundamentally important to the trust our clients place in IBM when they entrust us with the transformation, access, and management of critical commercial assets, including their data and systems,”.

The development is followed by its peers like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, Wipro, HCLTech and LTI have come out with their stance on moonlighting. 

Earlier, a similar letter was sent out by Infosys to its employees internally warning them that moonlighting could lead to termination during September.  

Wipro had already fired around 300 employees who were found to be working for competitors on a freelance basis.

NITES Reaction

Reacting on this development, Harpreet Singh Saluja, President, Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) said, “NITES strongly condemns IBM Moonlighting email. Probably the time has come to remind IT organizations that IT Employees are neither slaves nor bonded labours. The company stated that if an employee wants to pursue his or her passion be it dance, art or music has to be celebrated inside IBM. And if an employee wants to carry on the passion in personal life that it would be treated as conflict of interest & violation of trust. This shows the capitalist mindset of the company which is trying to capture & restrict the thought process of employees. Moreover if employees want to support a NGO or philanthropic activity in their personal time then they need to take permission first from the company. This is clearly violations of Human Rights & Personal Liberty. Right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Indian Constitution. The right to privacy is also recognized as a basic human rights under Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Act, 1948, which state that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence.”

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