Former Wipro worker makes Employment Tribunal sexual harassment claim

hmctsA former worker at one of the world’s largest IT firms has brought legal claims, including a claim for sexual harassment, against the firm.

Shreya Ukil, a former worker at India-based IT firm Wipro, made her claims in the Employment Tribunal after she alleged that she had been subject to sex discrimination and sexual harassment at the company.

Ms Ukil, 39, claimed in evidence at the London Central Employment Tribunal that she had been subjected to a “deeply predatory, misogynistic culture” at Wipro and that the atmosphere at the firm for women was “toxic”, with women expected to be “subservient” to their male counterparts. She also alleged that women who expressed their own viewpoints at the firm or were confident were referred to as “emotional”, “psychotic” or menopausal.

Ms Ukil also made the following allegations at the Employment Tribunal:

  • That she had been paid £75,000 per year but that male colleagues with comparable jobs had been paid £150,000 or more
  • That she had been bullied by her team leader, Vinay Firake, and that Mr Firake had attempted to ‘belittle’ her in meetings
  • That she had been described as a “bag carrier” and banned from a Las Vegas ‘jolly’ on which male colleagues had visited strip clubs and invited escorts back to their rooms

The former Wipro worker claimed that, upon complaining about Mr Firake’s behaviour she was told by a colleague to speak to Mr Punja, who had at that time just been appointed the global head of sales at the business. Ms Ukil stated that she had done so but that after having spoken to Mr Punja she was “pressured into a relationship” with him, a relationship which she alleged had arisen because of his “complete abuse of power”. In evidence she described Mr Punja as “utterly manipulative” and claimed that her relationship with him had led to her being diagnosed with depression and resorting to binge drinking.

Ms Ukil was dismissed from Wipro last year, a week after attempting to resign from the firm. She subsequently brought claims for sex discrimination, race discrimination, victimisation, sexual harassment, unfair dismissal, and wrongful dismissal against Wipro. The claim came to the London Central Employment Tribunal earlier this week.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers must ensure that they put in place equality policies in the workplace and that workers are trained in such policies. A failure to do so may render an employer liable in a sexual harassment claim. We will have to wait and see how Ms Ukil’s claim transpires.”

The case continues at the London Central Employment Tribunal.