Employees at Infosys are prohibited from moonlighting

Top software services companies have increased their inspection of employees because they are concerned that some of them may be engaging in side businesses without permission from the employer. The trend is causing worries that it may reduce productivity, lead to conflicts of interest, and potentially result in data breaches.

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Homegrown IT major Infosys Ltd. has cautioned its employees against moonlighting, saying that such activities will lead to termination of contract. The company, in an internal post, informed its employees that dual employment will not be allowed as per Infosys’s code of conduct.

The company emphasised the section of the offer letter that warns individuals against accepting positions with other companies unless Infosys approves, saying “at Infosys, dual employment is not permitted as per Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct.”

As leading software services companies increase their surveillance of employees due to concerns that some may be engaging in side businesses without company approval, they are sending out this reminder. The trend is causing worries that it may reduce productivity, lead to conflicts of interest, and potentially result in data breaches. As a result, many are putting the brakes on such behaviour.

For instance, the more than 36,000-person tech company Mphasis, which is owned by Blackstone Group, claimed it was monitoring staff closely to ward off criminals. When Rishad Premji, executive chairman of Wipro, referred to moonlighting as “cheating” last month, it sparked a discussion and thrust the long-simmering problem into the spotlight. He tweeted, “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating—plain and simple”.

The chief operating officer of Tata Consultancy Services, N. Ganapathy Subramaniam, stated at an industry event that employees must be ethical and that moonlighting will not be successful in the long term. “Employers need to inculcate ethics and being right… If you make something like this for short-term gains, in the long-term, you will lose out—that kind of a message has to go to the employees,” Subramaniam said.

“Citing clauses of contract will not help Infosys in the court of law as the clauses are included arbitrarily,” said Harpreet Singh Saluja, President, Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES). He continued by saying that IT firms have created monitoring programmes to gauge worker output. “Employees have contract to work with Infosys for 9 hours only. What the employees do outside working hours is their prerogative,” said Saluja.