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ILLEGAL TERMINATION OF EMPLOYEES IN MNCS: LEGAL REMEDIES

INTRODUCTION

Multinational businesses (MNCs) are recognized for their global presence, high revenue, and numerous workforces. However, regardless of their recognition, some MNCs engage in illegal termination practices that violate employees’ rights. Employment termination is a crucial subject that has received quite a little attention these days, specifically in India. In March 2021, India’s unemployment rate increased to 7.97%, according to the latest study by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), with millions of people losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there are legal safeguards against the unlawful termination of employees, many Indian companies and MNCs nonetheless use unethical termination procedures.

Illegal termination can arise for various reasons, which include discrimination, retaliation, or violation of employment contracts. In such instances, employees have legal remedies that they can pursue to seek justice. This blog will discuss some of the legal remedies available to employees who’ve been illegally terminated by MNCs.

UNDERSTANDING ILLEGAL TERMINATION

Illegal termination takes place when a worker is fired or forced to give up from their job for reasons that violate their legal rights. Any dismissal of an employee without purpose or in violation of the regulation governing employment is referred to as an illegal termination. It could appear for some motives, which include purposeful termination, discrimination, retaliation, or a breach of the terms and circumstances outlined inside the employment settlement. MNCs are authorized to fire employees for justifiable reasons, but they must also abide by the laws of the country in which they do business.

COMMON FORMS OF UNLAWFUL TERMINATION PREVAILING IN INDIA

Arbitrary Dismissal: When an employee is fired without a good or enough purpose that is called “arbitrary dismissal.” Employees may frequently be let go without the required notice, an adequate justification, or a chance to remedy any performance issues. According to Indian labour regulations, employers must adhere to due procedure, which entails giving written notice, conducting an investigation, and giving the employee a chance to be heard before termination. Arbitrary termination is against these clauses and is potentially illegal.

Termination Based on Discrimination: Discrimination in termination may be based on several factors, such as age, impairment, caste, religion, gender, or other protected traits. Indian labour rules forbid dismissal primarily based on these grounds and provide fairness and equal chances for all workers. employees may seek legal redress under anti-discrimination regulations and measures

Retaliation for Whistleblowing: Whistleblowing is the exercise of exposing wrongdoing, corruption, or illegal activity inside a company. It is forbidden to fire an employee in retribution for reporting wrongdoing. The Whistleblower Protection Act of 2014 offers protections to folks that expose such wrongdoing. It shields workers against unfavourable treatment, like dismissal, and allows them to seek legal redress if they are subjected to reprisal for disclosing misconduct.

Violation of Employment Contract: The terms and conditions of employment, together with notice periods, grounds for termination, and dispute resolution procedures, are outlined in employment contracts. It may be illegal for an employer to fire an employee in breach of the situations outlined in the contract. If their termination violates the provisions of their employment contracts, employees have the right to implement such conditions and pursue legal action.

Termination Without Following Proper Steps: Before terminating an employee, Indian labour regulations specify certain steps that must be accompanied by the employer. This normally includes giving written notice, carrying out an inquiry or investigation, giving the employee a chance to respond or defend themselves, and, if appropriate, giving the employee a chance to appeal. It may be unlawful to fire an employee without following these rules, such as by bypassing the notice period or failing to give them a fair chance to be heard.

LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR EMPLOYEES

India has put in place several legal protections to shield employees against arbitrary and unfair dismissal. Several important legal guidelines that regulate employee-employer interactions and offer recourse in cases of unlawful termination include:

The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947: This Act tries to prevent unlawful conduct with the aid of employers and offers a process for resolving issues related to employment. It prescribes sure steps an enterprise needs to take before dismissing an employee, which includes notice period, payments, and other job opportunities.

The Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959: This Act mandates that employers post activity openings on employment marketplaces earlier than filling them. It makes sure that registered applicants have access to work opportunities and hinders wrongful termination.

The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972: Employees who’ve served for at least 5 years continuously are eligible to receive a gratuity upon termination under this Act. It gives workers financial security and serves as a disincentive to arbitrary firing.

The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976: This Act forbids discrimination in reimbursement primarily based on gender. Under this regulation, employees who feel their dismissal become prompted by gender bias can also file a lawsuit.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961: The rights of female employees are included by way of this regulation in the course of pregnancy and childbirth. A worker’s termination earlier than, at some point of, or after her maternity leave may violate this Act.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013: This Act gives a framework for the legal handling of workplace sexual harassment claims. This law may be interpreted to make it illegal to fire someone for reporting or resisting sexual harassment.

LEGAL REMEDIES FOR ILLEGAL TERMINATION

Employees who have been illegally terminated by MNCs have several legal remedies that they can pursue to seek justice.

Civil remedies

Filing a Lawsuit: Employees who’ve been illegally terminated can file a lawsuit in opposition to their business enterprise. Within the lawsuit, the employee can seek damages for lost wages, emotional distress, and different losses on account of the illegal termination. The lawsuit also can are searching for to have the worker reinstated for their activity or to have their employment contract commemorated.

Reaching Labor Authorities: Relying upon the jurisdiction, employees may also submit proceedings with labour authorities inclusive of the labour Commissioner or labour courtroom, or with the Industrial Tribunal under the Industrial Disputes Act, of 1947.

Seeking for Arbitration or Conciliation: If the employment contract carries a provision for arbitration or conciliation, the employee may additionally start the legal procedure to adopt alternative dispute resolution techniques.

CRIMINAL REMEDIES

The employee may occasionally be able to submit a police complaint if the termination involves criminal offences including fraud, forgery, or harassment. Police will look into the situation and, if necessary, file a criminal complaint against the employer.

It also includes:

  1. Submitting a criminal grievance under section 406 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for crook breach of consideration in opposition to the organization for wrongful termination.
  2. Submitting a complaint in opposition to the employer for cheating under section 420 of the IPC.
  3. Submitting a grievance below section 499 of the IPC accusing the company of defamation.

CONCLUSION

There is an urgent problem that needs to be addressed and resolved with illegal terminations of employees in MNCs. Fortunately, Indian labour laws provide a variety of remedies to guard employees’ rights and assure that their disciplinary actions are lawful and justifiable. Those who are impacted must be aware of their legal rights and alternatives. Employees can encourage a fair and just work environment while encouraging trust and cooperation between employers and employees by pursuing legal action and holding MNCs accountable.

Author(s) Name: Anjali Gupta (NMIMS Indore)