Employee Supervising Activities Of Persons Who Are Not Direct Employees Of An Establishment Does Not Cease To Be Employed In Supervisory Capacity: Bombay HC

Employee Supervising Activities Of Persons Who Are Not Direct Employees Of An Establishment Does Not Cease To Be Employed In Supervisory Capacity

The Bombay High Court has observed that simply because an employee supervises the activities of persons who are not direct employees of an establishment, it cannot mean that he ceases to be employed in a supervisory capacity.

In that context, the Bench of Justice Sandeep V Marne observed that, “In a given organisation, it may happen that a Manager or Supervisor may have to supervise the activities of either contract workers or transporters. However, merely because he supervises activities of persons who are not direct employees of an establishment, it does not and cannot mean that he ceases to be employed in supervisory capacity. Therefore, the real test for determining supervisory nature of duties is not whether persons on whom supervision is exercised are employees of establishment or not, but the nature of duties attached to the job.”

Senior Counsel Sanjay Singhvi and Counsel Rahil Fazelbhoy appeared for the petitioner, while Counsel Dhananjay J Bhanage appeared for the respondents.

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The petitioner challenged a Labour Court’s decision that deemed him not an ’employee’ under the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions & Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act.

He argued that despite being designated as a Senior Sales Executive at Cadbury, his duties were primarily field-related, not supervisory, and thus, he should be considered a ‘workman’ under the Industrial Disputes Act.

However, the Labour Court upheld the decision, asserting that he was engaged in supervisory activities. The petitioner sought reinstatement and back wages, but the Labour Court ruled against him, prompting the petition.

The High Court observed that, “Petitioner was neither a ‘workman’ within the meaning of Section 2(s) of the I.D. Act nor a ‘sales promotion employee’ within the meaning of Section 2(d) of the SPE Act. Therefore, Petitioner was not an ‘employee’ within the meaning of Section 3(5) of the MRTU & PULP Act and his complaint fled before the Labour Court was clearly not maintainable.”

Accordingly, the petition failed and was dismissed.

Cause Title: Mr. Jobi Joseph vs Cadbury India Ltd. & Anr.

Source: verdictum

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