Friday, June 21, 2024

Employee has a “Right to Vent”: Madras High Court

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Madras HC ruled against a disciplinary action against A. Lakshminarayanan, made by Tamil Nadu Grama Bank, stating right of an employee to vent.

The bank charged the employee with disciplinary actions on his message posted on a group chat wherein he was criticizing bank’s management and deprecating senior authorities.

The court said , “To nurture a sense of grievance is quite natural. It is in the interest of the organization that the complaints find expression and ventilation. It will have a cathartic effect. If in the process, the image of the organization is affected, then the management can step in but not till then.”

The judge stated that the messages posted did not harm the public image of the organization they were, infact self expression and action against the employee would constitute as a violation of Article 19(1)(a).

The opinion was not expressed publicly. It was shared among the members of a private WhatsApp group. The management has not disclosed as to how they became aware of the post. It has not been shown as to how the bank’s interest has been affected When I indicated that while the petitioner can criticise the management, the language also matters, he readily apologized. In these circumstances, the act committed by the petitioner cannot amount to misconduct. The impugned charge memo is quashed.”

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