The company had conducted an internal inquiry against Richa Gautam after a former employee went public with allegations of harassment.
New Delhi: TechMahindra has fired a diversity officer accused of making statements derogatory to homosexuals and Islam, the company announced in a tweet late Saturday.
The decision followed an internal investigation kicked up by tweets posted by a former employee, Gaurav Probir Pramanik, who is gay. Gaurav worked at the Noida office of the company between 2013 and 2016.
@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
— Tech Mahindra (@tech_mahindra) September 15, 2018
ThePrint was the first to report that Tech Mahindra had launched an investigation against the officer in question, Richa Gautam.
According to Gaurav, among other instances, Gautam had labelled him “effeminate” and implied that it affected his performance at work.
Gaurav alleged that in 2015, she asked a manager who was weeping whether he was “a gay” to be “crying like this”.
In one of her tweets from an account that has been locked to strangers since the controversy broke, she reportedly called Islam “a global pain”.
“I stand vindicated,” Gaurav told ThePrint after Gautam’s sacking. “I am grateful that the outcome came so fast. I have finally got some sort of a closure to the hurt and humiliation I was subjected to over an extended period of time.”
“My prime reason for leaving Tech Mahindra was the constant humiliation I had to face for being gay,” Gaurav had told ThePrint in a previous email.
Speaking to ThePrint, Tech Mahindra MD and CEO C.P. Gurnani reiterated the formal statement issued by Tech Mahindra on Twitter and sought to distance the company from Gautam.
According to her profile on the professional networking site LinkedIn, Gautam had been with Tech Mahindra since 2007.
Her alleged harassment of employees came to light earlier this month, after the historic 6 September verdict of the Supreme Court decriminalising homosexuality.
Three days after the Supreme Court’s Section 377 verdict, on 9 September, Gaurav wrote Gautam an email where he sought to call her out for her behaviour. In the email, which Gaurav tweeted after Gautam reportedly didn’t respond, he detailed the aforementioned instances of harassement.
Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra and Gurnani responded to the tweets, saying they would investigate the matter.
ThePrint reached out to Gautam through Facebook but is yet to receive a reply.
Some questions for the company
Asked why anyone didn’t complain about Gautam before, Gaurav said she wielded much power in the office.
“As she was the head of many such internal committees and one of the very few women leaders in the organisation, she was a force to reckon with,” he added.
“She could easily influence any case to her favour… I know this for a fact that no one complained about her. While being in the system, I didn’t either,” he said.
With Gautam sacked, Gaurav said he still had some questions to ask of Tech Mahindra.
“I’d like to know from the policymakers at Tech M (sic) as to what steps they would take to ensure such incidents don’t occur in the future,” he said in a statement.
“How are you, as an organisation, going to put in place stricter and more stringent policies to keep a check on discrimination against sexual and religious minorities? How are you going forward with sensitising your employees about gender sensitivity?” he added.
Gaurav said he was slightly upset that Tech Mahindra had not reached out to him personally to convey the results of the investigation, but added that he would not mind working with the company again.
“Why not?” he said when asked about a possible second stint with Tech Mahindra. “Most of the other colleagues have been fantastic to work with and they have taught me so much during my employment there,” he added.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.