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IBM warns employees against moonlighting

IBM India has issued a word of caution to employees not to moonlight without following proper procedures. In an internal email to employees, IBM India MD Sandip Patel reiterated the company’s stance and policies on moonlighting and discouraged it, as well as any personal activities undertaken at the expense of IBM’s interests.

In the note, a copy of which was reviewed by Moneycontrol, Patel said that he wanted to be clear with his employees about the “much talked about” topic of moonlighting, adding that it could create a lot of confusion if not explained at a granular level.

“Simply put, ‘moonlighting’ is commonly referred to as having a second job in addition to one’s regular, full-time employment,” he said in the note.

This is not the first time Patel spoke about moonlighting. During the company’s flagship event, ‘Think 2022,’ in September, Patel said that he agreed with Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji’s view on moonlighting and that he was against dual employment, calling it “not ethically right.”

According to the internal note, IBM’s employment contracts require employees to refrain from being involved in any other employment or business in any role or capacity, particularly if it is a competitor, while employed with IBM.

“IBM’s Business Conduct Guidelines (BCGs) also make it clear under Guidelines 7.1 and 7.2 that while an IBMers’ time outside of work is their own, it also requires them to avoid engaging in activities that create a conflict of interest with IBM’s business. IBM’s BCGs highlight that providing assistance to a competitor in any capacity is a clear conflict of interest,” the note said.

“At IBM, our stance has always been clear: we encourage every IBMer to bring their whole selves to work. Your passion – be it for art, dance, or music is celebrated here, and in that spirit, we’d love to see you pursue your interests. However, if you advance a personal interest, whether directly or indirectly, at the expense of IBM’s interests, it is treated as a serious conflict of interest and a violation of trust,” the note added.

In terms of examples of what could constitute a violation of such policies, Patel said that while an employee is allowed to run a small business, doing so during work hours at IBM will interfere with the employee’s official duties to the company.

”IBM’s policy is also fundamentally important to the trust our clients place in IBM when they entrust us with the transformation, access, and management of critical commercial assets, including their data and systems,” the note added.

This development comes after peers like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, Wipro, HCLTech and LTI have come out with their stance on moonlighting. In September, a similar letter was sent out by Infosys to its employees internally warning them that moonlighting could lead to termination. Wipro’s Premji said it had already fired around 300 employees who were found to be working for competitors on a freelance basis.

HCLTech and TCS, too, discouraged their employees from moonlighting.

Meanwhile, Infosys had set a new policy and sent out an email to its employees, stating the process to be followed to take up external work, without mentioning the term ‘moonlighting’. The company allowed gig work with non-competing companies but with prior approval of the managers. Moneycontrol

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