A former employee at Wipro, India's third-largest IT company, has gone to court in the U.K. alleging sexual discrimination and unfair dismissal, and sought damages of 1 million pounds (about $1.5 million), the Telegraph reported Tuesday.
In the complaint, which is being heard by the Central London employment tribunal, Shreya Ukil also alleged that she was forced to have an affair with a married senior executive -- Manoj Punja who was a senior vice president at the company at the time, the newspaper reported, citing the ongoing hearings at the tribunal.
"Wipro Ltd does not comment on its ongoing lawsuits. Wipro’s policy on conflict of interest requires employees to disclose to the organization any personal relationship that could create conflict. Failure to disclose such relationships would result in disciplinary action including and up to separation. Following an impartial inquiry, both Manoj Punja and Shreya Ukil were relieved from the services of the company after it was established beyond reasonable doubt that they had violated the stated policy," Wipro said, in an email statement to International Business Times.
"Wipro takes serious objection to the scurrilous allegations made against the company and will initiate legal action to defend itself against insidious and defamatory allegations," the statement added.
Ukil, 39, was employed at Wipro until September 2014, according her LinkedIn profile. She was a relatively senior executive, with her last designation being head of sales in Europe for the IT services provider's hi-tech and manufacturing unit, according to the profile on the networking site for professionals. The profile states she holds an MBA from University of Leeds and also lists several performance-related awards from her time at Wipro.
She alleged sexual discrimination and reportedly claimed she was paid far less than her male colleagues with similar qualifications. Ukil further claimed that other women in the company also faced discrimination and that she was punished for daring to speak out. Wipro employs some 160,000 people, most of them in India, and about a third of them are women.
On one business trip to Stockholm in 2013, Ukil alleged, Punja told her that a silk top she was wearing was "too tight" for her body type because of her "big breasts," adding further that she was "like a seductive dancer from Indian mythology," according to the Telegraph report.
Punja was CEO of Wipro's back-office services business unit since June 2012. Prior to that, he was the chief sales and operations officer for Latin America, Africa, France, Germany and Canada. When he was fired from the company last year, he had worked there for 23 years. He is currently an executive vice president for another IT company, Microland, and is based in the U.S., according to the company's website and his LinkedIn profile.