Ms. Shreya Ukil, a 40-year-old Indian-origin techie who was formerly an employee at the Wipro office in London, has won a landmark lawsuit in a British court against the IT major for sacking her on grounds of gender discrimination, unequal pay and victimisation. In her lawsuit, the Indian-origin victim has alleged that she was paid half of what her male counterparts in London were drawing. She also said she was routinely subjected to sexist remarks by senior colleagues who called her “shrill’, ‘shallow’, ‘un-European’ and ‘bitch’ among other names.
“The Wipro leadership team, including its (then) chief executive T.K. Kurien, conspired to push Ukil out of her job and her role in Britain,” her counsel Slater Gordon said in a statement. Women who are confident, capable and express their viewpoints were often called emotional and menopausal by some male peers, said Ukil. She said she was harassed, cornered and even blocked from moving to other roles in Europe.
The court observed that the direction (to sack Ukil) had come from the very top and was followed through with considerable resolve.
Ms. Ukil sued the Bengaluru-based outsourcing firm in October 2015, seeking one million pounds compensation for the gender discrimination, unequal pay and harassment.
She had worked in the company for 10 years, won multi-million-dollar contracts for the firm and received numerous performance awards; she started raising gender concerns in 2012, which went unheeded. While sacking Ms. Ukil and her superior Manoj Punja, the company had then said that they were relieved from service after an internal inquiry established that they were into a relationship but did not report about it to the company as a policy. Ukil, who was the sales and market development manager for Wipro’s back office operations in London, filed the lawsuit with the central London employment tribunal, claiming she was forced into an affair by Punja, a married man, who was head of its business process outsourcing (BPO) office in London.
The ruling is a landmark one, relieving the Indian female techie for the unjust by the IT major. The victim was jubilant after winning the sexual-harassment case.