As India Inc. debates over the moonlighting issue, companies such as Infosys, Flipkart, and Freshdesk, among others, might have had a different founding history but for moonlighting.
Harpreet Singh Saluja, President of Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES), an organisation representing IT workers, claims that several successful companies like Infosys, Flipkart, Freshdesk, and others were established by their founders while they were moonlighting at their day jobs.
Speaking to Business Today’s Executive Director Rahul Kanwal on India Today’s Newstrack, Saluja said, “Going back to history, moonlighting is not a new thing. Infosys founder Narayan Murthy was working with Patni Computer Systems when he founded Infosys. At the same time, if you'll go with startups, Flipkart was founded by Sachin and Binny Bansal while they were working for Amazon. Freshdesk, which got listed on Nasdaq last year, was found by Girish Mathrubootham while he was working for Zoho Corporation.”
Interestingly, Infosys, and Freshdesk operate in similar domains when compared to the establishments in which their founders worked. Infosys and Patni Computer Systems operate in the IT sector while Freshdesk and Zoho both build technology tools for businesses. Moreover, both Amazon and Flipkart started as online bookstores.
Although Infosys’ origins are closely associated with moonlighting, the company discourages employees from practicing it. In an email sent out by the HR department recently, the tech giant stressed, “Remember - NO TWO-TIMING - NO MOONLIGHTING.”
To add to this, Infosys’ employment contract is also laden with clauses preventing IT workers from taking up secondary employment. The employment contract reads, “You agree not to undertake employment, whether full-time or part-time, as the Director / Partner Member/Employee of any other organization/entity engaged in any form of business activity without the consent of Infosys. The consent may be given subject to any terms and conditions that the Company may think fit and may be withdrawn at any time at the discretion of the Company.” This is a compulsory condition of employment.
Even former Infosys director TV Mohandas Pai believes that what an employee does in their free time should not concern the company. He told Business Today, “I would look at it from a different perspective. Employment is a contract between an employer who pays me for working for them for 'n' number of hours a day. During that time, I have to abide by their conditions, including client confidentiality, and I'm paid for that. At that time, I can't work for anybody else. Now what I do after that time is my freedom, I can do what I want.”
Furthermore, the IT services giants’ contract also prevents employees from working with direct competitors for 6 months after leaving the company.
The contract notes, "I agree that for a period of six (6) months following the termination of my employment with Infosys for any reason, I will not:..
…b. accept any offer of employment from a Named Competitor of Infosys, if my employment with such Named Competitor would involve me having to work with a Customer with whom I had worked in the twelve (12) months immediately preceding the termination of my employment with Infosys.
For the purposes of this Non-Compete Agreement, "Named Competitor" shall mean the following entities and their wholly owned subsidiaries:
i. Tata Consultancy Services Limited
ii. Accenture Limited
iii. International Business Machines Corporation
iv. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation
v. Wipro Limited"
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