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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

IBM illegally fires man for his sexual harassment complaint against woman boss: Bangalore mirror

This man, Anish Vohra, was cash-strapped because of IBM's illegal job termination just because he made a sexual harassment complaint against his woman boss. They did not technically fire him, but he was forced to resign after this woman boss created adverse situations for him at work, all this without recording any misbehaviour or failings on his part, with no notice period complied with, no salary/compensation for not complying with notice period of 90 days, etc.,. 

The legal notice sent by Anish to IBM reads six typed A4 sized pages and the sexual harassment part is a section of that. The main allegations are about the woman boss abusing her authority and harassing him mentally, and professionally, systematically over a period of 5 months until he was FORCED TO TENDER HIS RESIGNATION. They did not fire him, rather she created a set of circumstances that left him with no alternative but to quit. Added to this was her unprofessional behavior and choice of language, which by IBM's own standards, was not acceptable at any level.

There was no record of any misbehavior or failings in Anish's work, but the woman boss, fifteen days after confirming Anish's job on Feb 01, 201,1 called him to a meeting with HR and insisted that he goes on a Personal Improvement Plan [PIP] in order to continue in IBM. A PIP is conducted for those resources(employees) who are below the mark in every way possible - this action was in direct contradiction with her rating 2 given to Anish(solid contributor, consistently meets job responsibilities, etc. - IBM description!) in December 2010 (with a personal statement from her that Anish had, in the short time span of 4 months, managed to win the appreciation of senior management) and also confirming Anish's job 15 days in advance of his confirmation date. These events show the lady boss' bias, obvious victimization and abuse of power. 15 days after this meeting with HR, Anish had to resign.

He is now unable to find enough money to treat his ailing son

See the FB page "Pray For Abhijaat"created for raising money for his son's treatment for Cerebral Palsy, to keep him alive  and also the Website for the same . 

See the various reports in newspapers quoted below(links to the original newspaper reports also appear below) 

************** Report 1***************

Former delivery manager at IT firm demands Rs 88 L compensation; the company terms his charges ‘unfounded’ and ‘without merit’
Sameer Ranjan Bakshi
 Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome!
Posted On Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 10:40:42 AM
Anish Vohra
Debunking the common stereotype of a male executive hitting on a female colleague, a male mid-level manager has quit his job at IBM, alleging sexual harassment at the workplace. In a first-of-its-kind case, the man has filed a complaint with the company and has also slapped a legal notice on his former “offensive” woman boss and two others, including the MD of the IT behemoth’s India branch.

In the legal notice, Anish Vohra, who worked as a delivery manager for the company, accused his former woman boss of using abusive language while speaking to him in the office. Vohra alleges that he was forced to resign from the company and has claimed a compensation of Rs 87,91,650, including mental torture of Rs 10,000.

Policy at IBM forbids employees from speaking to the media, unless expressly authorised to do so. Hence, the name of the woman boss is being withheld because her version of the events could not be obtained.

Vohra joined as a delivery manager (proposal and ICAP) on August 16 last year and was on six months probation at IBM’s Global Enablement Center. He began working directly under the supervision of the woman he now accuses of harassing him. He claims he was confirmed 15 days ahead of the stipulated six months by which time professional relationship with his boss had already begun to deteriorate.

A paragraph in the legal notice reads: “Our client states that after giving a rating of 2, indicating excellent performance, suddenly she became hostile and beginning in December 2010, the professional relations deteriorated. She started losing patience and became highly critical without any reason and was abusive at times. On account of this behaviour our client (Vohra) sought a meeting which was held on 10.01.2011 and 14.01.2011, wherein she stated, ‘You are different from other managers in IBM. I need to treat you differently from them. I have been unnecessarily harsh with you I agree. I apologise for this behaviour’.

“In the second meeting our client further states that she also uttered the following words, ‘I do not know what it is between you and me I just cannot get along with you’. And also stated, ‘I get the feeling that you are jacking me of and simply f***ing around with me’ and then stated ‘forgive the words/expression used’.
“Our client states that the use of unparliamentary language was in the least objectionable and if uttered to a senior management would have resulted in termination of services.”

The notice goes on to say, “Our client states that at the time of joining service of IBM our client had signed the Business Conduct Guidelines (BCG) which specifically prohibited use of slang language as well as use of profanity or language which would hurt the sentiments of another. Our client states that the language used also amounted to victimisation of our client, for reasons best known to her and which was never disclosed to our client.”

Vohra also claims that the language used by his former boss amounts to sexual harassment as, “IBM being an Ideal Employer, has framed strict rules for prevention of harassment at the work place, called Recognition & Preventing Workplace Harassment- India Employees Edition. Work place harassment is a violation of human rights.”

Vohra has also alleged, “The employment contract stipulated that the company or the employee may terminate the services at any time by giving 90 days notice or salary in lieu thereof. However, without informing me or recording any misbehaviour, they forced me to resign abruptly without paying me any compensation or salary for the notice period.”

The notice was also served on Shankar Annaswamy, managing director, IBM India Private Limited, and Lynette Clunies Ross, director, Sales Transaction Hub, GMU, IBM Limited.

IBM at first refused to answer phone calls or respond to emails from BM seeking their comments. An IBM spokesperson eventually said, “We have fully investigated this matter. The claims made are unfounded and without merit.”

**************** Report 2***************

Anish Vohra has set up a community in the social network to raise funds for treatment of 2-yr-old Abhijaat, who suffers from cerebral palsy
Sameer Ranjan Bakshi
 Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome!
Posted On Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 12:02:02 AM
Facebook has helped Anish and Deepti raise Rs 1.5 lakh of the Rs 56.35 lakh they need for their son’s treatment
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, but Anish Vohra keeps his chin up. His two-year-old son, Abhijaat, is suffering from cerebral palsy, and the city-based former IBM delivery manager needs funds — $125,000 (Rs 56.35 lakh) to be exact — if his son is to live a healthy life.

Vohra, who has been unemployed for the past three months, is strapped for cash, having already spent all his savings on Abhijaat’s treatment.

At the end of his tether, he has set up a community on Facebook and has launched a portal in the hope of raising money from donors to fund stem cell treatment — Vohra’s last hope — for his son.

Vohra believes that his Facebook forum, ‘Pray for Abhijaat’, and portal ‘For Abhijaat’ have helped him appeal to a wider audience.

He launched his online campaign last year and has raised $3,348 (Rs 1.5 lakh) so far. He keeps donors updated on Abhijaat’s progress with frequent posts on the sites.

“He came into our lives on July 3, 2008, suddenly, unexpectedly and a good four weeks ahead of schedule due to low amniotic fluid,” Vohra posted. “He did not cry right after birth, he had a breathing difficulty due to very bad stridor (obstruction in the air passage). At first, doctors did not give him a chance, but with the help of C-PAP and oxygen, he survived. He was a good healthy baby, no major issues.”

But Abhijaat was afflicted by a number of complications. He continued to suffer from respiratory problems, his right knee was dislocated at birth and he lacked the ability to grasp things, to sit or to smile, walk or talk.

Abhijaat has been in and out of hospitals and has already had three surgeries, the last in Chicago which cost $197,614 (about Rs 89 lakh).

“We got his knee fixed with physiotherapy and splinting,” Vohra posted. “No one told us there was something wrong with him, just that ‘milestones were delayed’. We used to think ‘So what. He would come around’.”

Vohra and his wife Deeti’s world came crashing down when they learnt from a paediatric neurologist that their son had cerebral palsy.

“His motor abilities and speech have been affected. His hands and legs are spastic.

“Maybe Abhi does not pronounce consonants yet to say Mama, but he makes enough sounds for us to hear Mama in there somewhere. He holds objects placed in his hands for a little while, listens to the sound of our voices and responds to rudimentary instructions.

“He shows us there is the possibility of a good healthy life within his reach. He is the sweetest little boy you can imagine.”
Dr Gyanam, one of the paediatric specialists treating Abhijaat at Manipal Hospital, said, “His brain cells were damaged at the time of delivery because of a lack of oxygen to the brain.

“It will take a while for Abhijaat to be discharged as he now has pneumonia triggered by an infection in his lungs.”

What ails AbhijaatCerebral palsy is a non-progressive, non-contagious motor condition that causes physical disability in human development in various parts of the body. Abhijaat needs stem cell treatment available in only a few countries such as China and Germany. There is no guarantee that the treatment would work. The Vohras are in touch with the Wu Stem Cell Medical Centre in Beijing. They would need boarding and lodging for the duration of the treatment - typically three months. It would cost about $125,000.

For details visit:, or


Anonymous said...

Anish was not fired for complaining but for gross incompetency. Though I hate the boss as much as anyone, but here he was in the wrong.

His son has a congenital incurable condition. And the money he is raising for the treatment (that wont help), is available in India a more economical rates. It is called stem cell therapy.

CruiserDeep said...

@Anon if this was the case why was he not given a reason and not given a notice period?(as per company's own policies).

Anonymous said...

No one can be forced to resign in IBM as the resignation is tool initiated. Anish could have refused and sat in his seat. Without initiating in the tool nothing will happen. IBM HR policies are too employee oriented. If the employee refuses to resign then the manager has to initiate it and that becomes a case of the manager sacking the employee and the manager has to have justification. Before sacking a person a three month documented Performance Improvement Plan has to be set up with HR knowledge and the employee given another chance to improve. If he doesn't then documentary evidence of failure to improve performance has to be produced before he can be sacked.
He had completed probation so three months notice is required. But if he refuses to serve notice period then he will be relieved and three moths salary reduced from his full and final settlement. Choice of serving notice period or not is also a choice of the employee and he will mention that in the resignation tool.

CruiserDeep said...

@Anon "They did not fire him, rather she created a set of circumstances that left him with no alternative but to quit"... so its clear that the environment was made so vicious that Anish was forced to resign.

They just circumvented the firing!.

Sreejit said...

@CruiserDeep, not possible dude in IBM where there are so many outlets to complain. I am an ex-employee and I know the rules. In fact I have seen managers getting into deep trouble due to these tools. Also subordinates who used the "complaint" feature to harass managers.

Anonymous said...

I have documented proofs about how all the departments like Management ,the Complaint cell and the legal team gets together to harass and terminate an employee in IBM. They blackmail an employee and THROW him/her OUT. IBM is a company of a bunch of narrow minded, selfish - paid dogs of the company ..

Gokul Padoor said...

Ok. What do you intent to do with these proofs?. If you are ready to expose IBM, send them to us at SIF, we can take up the cause of any gender bias, anywhere in India.

Transplant Kidney said...