In one of the first instances in the IT industry, Wipro, on Wednesday, fired 300 employees who were found moonlighting, which opened a pandora’s box on how the company found out this act, and a debate has begun on the issue. The HR experts say, under normal circumstances, it would be very difficult to track who is moonlighting.

Wipro has not commented on how they found that employees were moonlighting. Wipro’s Executive Chairman, Rishad Premji at a meeting said that moonlighting is cheating and violation of integrity in its deepest form. The employees were terminated for ‘act of integrity violation’.

A rude awakening

“This is a rude awakening over the feasibility of an exposé on the moonlighting front. Should the debate be on how they found out? EPF accounts, parallel emails/work proof, 26A, etc., or the resolve to address this?” says Kamal Karanth, Co-Founder of Xpheno in a social media posting. “The sheer volume of employees impacted goes to prove that enterprises have found methods to tackle moonlighting,” he added.

In the absence of a centralised employee blacklisting system or credibility rating, like CIBIL score for employment record, the shadow of this action would be short if not absent, he said.

Agreeing with Karanth’s view on the debate, C Sunil, CEO, TeamLease Digital, said only if the employees had dual employment, then due to the PF account they will be caught. Otherwise, if they have used the same IT tools, it can be found or through HR intelligence.

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Gen Z market

“I believe techies are intelligent and would have ensured they use different job names, email accounts, IT tools and would have taken gigs where they don’t have to open a PF account. Another way employers can find is if they can get banks to help in knowing about credits into their employee accounts. This is not legal but banks might oblige not as policy but for personal relationships with some people, he said.

The Gen Z believe differently. Unlike the old generation, where loyalty and fear of job drives association, the Gen Z believes in management by objectives, outcomes vs activity and time invested in work, and flexibility to work. The future of work is different and will be a candidate-driven market unlike a employee-driven market. The current situation is due to the time employers take to adopt the new way of working. It is about loyalty vs ethics, money vs activity, he said.

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Worried employees

Aditya Narayan Mishra, MD and CEO of CIEL HR Services said that, by remote monitoring of the laptops used by employees, one can track if one is using the asset for something else. But, it is hard to conclusively say that one is moonlighting. Whatever methods they have used is not sustainable.

Companies are worried if their employees are putting their best efforts and secondly, they are worried about the security of the information their employees are handling. These worries are genuine and the solution does not lie in driving fear and compliance in the organisation, he said.