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White collared slavery: Accenture, Cognizant dragged to court over long work hours, leave policy

In what can be considered to be an exemplary case, employees of leading Information Technology companies with offices in India, have filed a case against their employers. Frustrated over bad leave policy and long working hours, the techies decided to drag IT giants Accenture and Cognizant to court.


Taking note of the Public Interest Litigation filed by three IT employees from Hyderabad and a group of activists from "Forum Against Corruption", the Telangana High Court has directed the concerned firms to respond within four weeks. The HC also issued a notice to the state government, directing it to ensure that all the companies mentioned in the PIL, file their responses in due time.


The litigants have complained in their PIL that “white collared slavery” still exists in the state, and people are exploited in the name of employment – a practice that must end. They named and blamed several leading IT companies in the PIL, such as Accenture, Cognizant, and Caspex Corp, reported The News Minute.


Vijay Gopal, the president of the activist group "Forum Against Corruption", have stated that this PIL is aimed at making the lives of techies better while also ensuring that companies stop exploiting their employees.


He mentions that IT employees are often made to work for 10 hours a day without any extra payment, forced to waste more than four productive hours daily in commute using office cab services and are also not granted their due paid leaves in time.


Notably, as per The Telangana Shops and Establishments Act of 1988, no employee can be made to work beyond 48 hours per week, which amounts to eight hours per day at a workplace that has a six-day workweek.


Moreover, all employees are entitled to 15 days of paid leave, 12 days of casual leave, and 12 days of sick leave annually.


Unfortunately, a 2002 government order let IT companies bypass these laws to lure them into setting up base in Telangana (then Andhra Pradesh).

Source: Moneycontrol