The California-based law firm Aiman-Smith & Marcy,representing iGate employee Araceli Roiz whose charges led to Phaneesh Murthys exit,has said it is contemplating court action against Murthy and the company. The law firm said Roiz was pregnant with Murthys child and accused him of exerting pressure on her to have an abortion.
In a response to an email query from FE,the law firm said,As a result of Murthys influence over Roiz,she continued the relationship with him and ultimately,Roiz became pregnant with Murthys child. When he discovered this,Murthy pressured Roiz to have an abortion. When she refused,he told her to leave the company,quietly,to protect his position as CEO.
Reacting to the latest charges from Roizs lawyers,Phaneesh Murthy said,There are always two sides to the truth and now that the matter is definitely heading to court,I cant comment anymore.
The firm,which had previously represented Reka Maximovitch and Jennifer Griffith in sexual harassment law suits against Murthy while he was employed at Infosys,pointed out that since Murthy was an officer and director of iGate,his actions were the actions of iGate,and iGate,too,is liable for the acts of Murthy, under California law.
There remains the question of whether,given Murthys history of predatory actions toward female employees,iGate did all that it should have done to oversee and control Murthy and to provide some method for women at iGate to report his actions. We have been in communication with iGates attorneys and iGate has stated that it is continuing its investigation, the law firm statement noted.
In a response to an email query from FE on the latest developments,iGate said,Roiz did not inform the company about the issue first. The company learned of the relationship,when Murthy disclosed the same to the board three weeks back. Immediately after being informed of the relationship,iGates board of directors reacted swiftly and appropriately. iGate acted quickly and sought to ascertain the facts,protect shareholder value and ensure we identified and completed all appropriate actions. Following an independent investigation carried out by a third party,the board decided to terminate the employment of Murthy. The termination was for cause, adding that iGate is committed to fully comply with the legal process for the logical conclusion of the matter .
Roiz was employed at iGate from May 2010. According to the statement from Aiman-Smith & Marcy,she remains employed,though on medical leave at present. This is the second time Murthy has been sacked from a company on similar charges. A high profile executive and board member of Infosys,Murthy,in July 2002 was sacked from the company for alleged sexual harassment charges against his subordinate female employee Reka Maximovitch,an US citizen of Bulgarian descent.
The legal case that drew widespread publicity saw Infosys closing the matter in April,2003,through an out-of-court settlement with a payment of $3 million to Maximovitch. Infosys contributed half of this payment with the rest being paid by insurance companies.
Later,another former Infosys employee and US citizen Jennifer Griffith filed a similar case in 2003. This was also settled as an out-of-court matter in October,2004,by paying Griffith $800,000 with 50% contribution made by Murthy and the rest by insurers. Infosys said in a statement that it was not a party to the settlement.