India's third largest software exporter Wipro, which was slapped with a 1.2-million-pound lawsuit by former employee Shreya Ukil alleging sexual harassment, has said that the UK Employment Tribunal had ruled in favour of the company and upheld the company's decision to terminate her employment, while Ukil claimed that she had won the verdict on equal pay, sex discrimination, unfair dismissal and victimisation.
According to the judgement documents filed with the Employment Tribunal, Ukil's claim of "wrongful dismissal fails and is dismissed." ET has seen a copy of the judgement.
The judgement also adds that Ukil's complaints of "direct sex discrimination," "victimization in respect of being required to return to India in 2014", "victimization in respect to rejection of a complaint filed in January 2014," and another complaint in "June 2014", "victimization in relation to blocking of attempts to finding another internal job in Europe in 2014" and "victimization in respect of bringing of disciplinary charges, refusing to accept the claimant's resignation and dismissal" had been awarded in favor of Ukil.
"Wipro Limited is pleased the UK Employment Tribunal has upheld the dismissal of the complainant from the services of the organization as appropriate and rejected claims of adverse cultural attitude towards women in the organization," a Wipro spokeswoman said in an email to ET.
"The company has built its business over the years by ensuring it adheres to the highest standards of integrity, fairness, and ethical corporate practices. Any transgression of these beliefs and policies will continue to be dealt with expeditiously and with the strictest action. We have been recognized in various fora for our progressive and proactive Inclusion & Diversity frameworks. For several years now, Wipro has had a Global Prevention of Sexual Harassment Committee (PSHC), an impartial body for investigation, with members across locations, including an external expert. All such matters are reviewed at the highest level at Wipro and we will continue with this practice," added Wipro.
ET could not immediately verify whether Wipro has reached any sort of financial settlement with Ukil, as part of the 1.2 million pound suit.
"I hope that following this judgment, companies will again reconsider their treatment of female employees, ensuring they are treated fairly and equally," Ukil said in a statement.
"I am incredibly grateful for the innumerable messages of support I have received from men and women alike. I hope that this verdict will encourage women everywhere at every level to raise their voices and be heard. It is undoubtedly a struggle and a very hard one but the only way to change this equation is by ensuring that it is brought to light. No organization or person is too big that they can get away with unethical and illegal behaviour. It was a fight for respect and equality and as hard as it has been, if I had to fight it again, I would, with all my heart," she added.
In October, Ukil had alleged that she was subjected to severe sexual harassment by male colleagues in London and has filed a suit claiming 1.2 million pounds in damages, claiming that she was also subjected to gender discrimination, unequal pay and unfair dismissal.
In the suit, the employee Shreya Ukil has alleged that she was discriminated against in terms of her pay in comparison to male colleagues at similar positions and has accused former Wipro executive Manoj Punja who was her manager of forcing her to have an affair with him.
This case isn't the first such instance of sexual harassment against women in the IT industry. In September, ET had reported that two-thirds of companies on the Nifty, a 50-stock benchmark index of the NSE, reported cases of sexual harassment in the previous financial year and an examination of the annual reports of 46 Nifty companies showed a total of 415 cases, with 80% of these in information technology (IT) and banking firms.
Former BPO head Punja resigned from Wipro in 2014, although ET could not immediately verify the exact reasons for his departure. Following Punja's departure, Nagendra Bandaru became head of Wipro's BPO business.
In the 1.2 million-pound suit, Ukil had claimed that she was forced into having an affair with an older boss.
In October, Wipro had strongly dismissed the allegations from Ukil, terming them as "insidious and defamatory" and said that both Ukil and former BPO head Manoj Punja were terminated from the company after it was established "beyond reasonable doubt" that both of them had violated the company's code of conduct.