INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY company Tech Mahindra has asked its training head for BPO services Richa Gautam to leave with immediate effect after undergoing an investigation for alleged discrimination and harassment.
Last Sunday, a former Tech Mahindra employee, Gaurav Pramanik, had emailed Gautam stating, “I had promised to write to you the day IPC Section 377 was scrapped and being a homosexual in a country as great as India was legal.” Pramanik claims that Gautam said of a fellow employee, “When I asked him the reason, he started crying and I told him are you a gay that you are crying like this?”
Gautam allegedly also said, “If your mother is a prostitute, you’re a prostitute,” in reference to her belief that homosexuality is a result of one’s upbringing.
Gautam was then both chief diversity and inclusion officer, as well as global head of training for BPO services. A company spokesperson stated that Gautam was no longer the diversity and inclusion officer as of a year ago.
After receiving no response from Gautam, Pramanik, now based in Darjeeling, posted his email on Twitter. On Tuesday morning, Tech Mahindra tweeted to Pramanik stating, “Hi Gaurav. This is indeed disturbing and completely against the ethos of our group that believes in the uniqueness of every individual. We will do a thorough investigation and take steps as necessary. Our team will be in touch with you.”
Tech Mahindra CEO and managing director C P Guranani replied to that tweet: “Gaurav, you have my personal assurance that this will be thoroughly investigated. We remain committed to supporting and promoting a diverse workforce at TechM.”
Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra replied: “I can categorically assure you that we celebrate diversity in our workplace…. Tech M is investigating these allegations, and appropriate action will follow…” The same day, a company ombudsman called Pramanik to interview him. Pramanik also gave him the contacts for others who faced similar grievances.
Gautam did not respond to an email from The Sunday Express.
On Saturday night, the company tweeted to Gaurav stating, “The concerned employee has been separated from the employment of the company with immediate effect.” According to Pramanik, Gautam continuously made Islamophobic comments, stating that Muslims should be sent back to Pakistan. “There was no point going and complaining because it would have come down on me heavily,” Pramanik said.