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I was forced to leave the Company twice and the reasons for which the Company says they are withholding my full and final settlement is that I have not done the handing over of the files and folders of my work. The gravity of my complaint, cannot be understood unless I state all the...

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I was forced to leave the Company twice and the reasons for which the Company says they are withholding my full and final settlement is that I have not done the handing over of the files and folders of my work. The gravity of my complaint, cannot be understood unless I state all the inter-connected events, because, my resignations are an outcome of series of these incidents. I shall keep it as brief as possible.

Initially, I had joined as Coordinator to the MD in a company in Mangalore, as they was no vacancy in the Legal & Documentation department. Two years later, when there was a vacancy,I was shifted to the Legal & Documentation department (Legal & Doc dept).I was working in the Legal & Doc dept at the time of both the resignations i.e. (1.)in April 2017 but serving Notice period upto June 2017 and (2.)during my resignation in September 2019.

When I was the MD coordinator, I have been made to work late nights, i.e. beyond work hours daily. Sometimes jobs were given with specific instructions to go home only after the work is done, no matter how late it was. Thereafter, when I was in the Legal & Doc dept,I was travelling daily. Even then the MD wanted me to work late hours for which I did not agree. The MD had made me wait despite my objections and then let me go.My assistant was with me too. This has been done thrice, twice by the MD and once by the CEO. The overtime work benefit of these days also have not been paid even though as per the procedures we were made to stay back late as per the Company’s MD & CEO’s instructions.

The CEO also wanted me to work on Sundays which I had refused, because, there was no work that could not be done on working days.Sometimes the works were given with specific instructions to go home‘only after the work is done or to come and work on Sundays', so in order to avoid both situations, I have either had late lunch or skipped my lunch altogether to complete the work. This stress had soared my sugar levels to above 300 (fasting).I had developed PCOS, diabetes and obesity.

The CEO is known for his womanising behaviour and staffs who don’t oblige get treated like me. But I am not interested in filing any case on this . I want to get my full and final settlement only. There are situations given to the employee to do what the Company’s top management desires or be forced to quit. If they are unwilling, the employees are forced to resign as they have no option. (As per the laws, this said company does not have an internal complaints committee (ICC) which is mandatory for every private or public organization that has 10 or more employees as per the Sexual Harassment Act, 2013). Moreover, many earlier staffs did complain to the MD but he has never reacted because he wants to keep the CEO pleased because he is good at his job as an Architect and with the local & state political parties. I will never get any staff speaking up against the CEO either because they are highly paid by him, so why should I fight other’s battles? My interest is solely in getting my settlement amount.

There is also the instance, when I was being forced to work late by the CEO on the pretext of some chart to be prepared. I had a chart with all the contents mentioned very well in it but the CEO wanted me to work late so he tore it off. He told me to stay back and prepare the chart and not go home till it’s done.I refused and left.I did not attend office till the HR called me back. Before starting my work , I was asked to wait and this was from morning 9.30am till 7pm!.Then the CEO called me and told me to write on a sheet of paper that “I will not give importance to my family and that I will obey all instructions of the CEO whatever he says!”. I refused. He told me to write on similar lines, so that he can show to the employees and say that he controls the company employees. He told me,“It’s not valid letter, you know that. Just write so that I can show my controlling power”. This was done in front of my colleague. Unwillingly, I wrote on similar lines down and gave it. He at once called the HR and said.” Look, I made her to write this!”. She smiled.

In 2017, I was asked to quit my job, if ,I refused to take up the work responsibility of the MD coordinator, in addition to my work in the Legal & Doc dept. The MD Coordination work is to be done by sitting near or inside the MD cabin while the Legal & Doc dept is in a different location on the same floor. Hence two different work areas.I had refused because, I was travelling to Udupi daily and both duties had different work responsibilities, from two different work areas, and hence it was not only difficult to handle, but also MD coordination needed long working hours. It would not have been possible for anybody in my situation, to do justice to both works, at a time everyday. Even today, nobody from the Legal & Doc dept has done it nor will agree to do it.The Company expected me to do this for the same salary.The HR conveyed that MD had told that if I don’t assume two roles I will have to quit and so I quit.

Thereafter, the CEO and MD held three work-responsibility meetings to make me hand-over my work responsibilities after this resignation.I was also made to do extended Notice Periods of 3 months(instead of just one month) upto June 2017 though I had completed my handing-over in the first month of Notice period itself (I did not hold a high position in the Company that made it necessary for a three month Notice Period either. The staffs who resigned earlier had served only one month Notice period. I had no pending works to delay my Notice period either because works alloted to me was cleared after completing and reporting to the CEO on a daily basis!).Even after three months, the Company did not pay my settlement amount in lumpsum, which included my salary, bonus, gratuity and PF.

After I resigned, my colleague, who handles a different set of work responsibility of project and premises documentation in the same dept, also left the job but without any handing-over or resignation. So, there was nobody in the Legal & Doc dept, and the CEO called me to rejoin for various help. When I refused continuously, the CEO requested me with a ‘please’ message. Though they had been unfair to me, seeing the plea, I rejoined. I was forced to do the work responsibility of my colleague, in the Legal & Doc dept along with my own work responsibility.

After rejoining, I was doing the day-to-day works, related to premises & project documentation, registration and Property Registration (PR)card related works including site staff work responsibility preparation( which is the work of the HR dept). The increment given to me was lesser than that of my Assistant who was doing minor jobs!

In the month of August 2019, the CEO has employed a new lady staff, to the Legal & Doc dept, as a full time employee. He favored her and also gives her higher salary than us, even though she has no experience with the work, nor had she served this company like us.

Thereafter, the CEO and HR introduced a Watsapp messaging group and told all the departments to report all the work being done by them. So, me and my Assistant would very accurately put in all the details. Then , one day, the CEO called me and gave me an example to follow. The example was of the updation on Watsapp done by the office boy(where he reported his entry and exit to office and anything done by him from minute to minute).This was belittling of my position as a Senior staff in the company by making me follow a procedure fit for office boy. The reporting procedure itself was very harassing, because we wasted precious minutes in typing all the details, while actually doing the work. If the reporting was not done, the HR would call and force us to type the report in Watsapp, even if I told her that I was busy and concentrating on the work at hand.The work done by the office boy is totally different from the work done by a senior staff in the Legal & Doc dept.

On 12th September 2019, I was informed by the CEO, that he had decided after a meeting with the senior staffs, that I should be working three days a week, for half salary from the month of October 2019 onwards(i.e.When I had joined this company, my last drawn salary in my previous job was more than this half pay, so after nearly 10 years here, I was going to be paid a salary that was less than what I was earning at the time of my joining this company as a new joinee!).It is very clear, that the CEO stated the new terms of work to me, to facilitate the entry of this newly favoured staff into the company by cutting down my salary.

Further, it is clear that the intention of the CEO, to make me work for three days a week, was to get the full weeks work done in those three days at half pay, because the new staff had no experience of the department’s work.It is very clear from all these facts, that I have been victimized as a result of the favouritism, shown by the CEO towards specific employees of the Company with total disregard for the services of long serving employees like myself. This would have created a demotion status not a promotion, in my career graph if I would have continued to serve them.

The CEO also told me that, for certain reasons, he could not terminate my other colleague, even though she had suddenly left the job and even after one year had not rejoined for full-time work. This indicated that his intention was to retain and replace staffs based on his favoritism.

Dejected by all this injustice, I told the CEO to settle all my dues in lump-sum within September end, without any excuse or delay(This was my request to the CEO, because of my previous experience with them in 2017 when I had quit this job and even after following all procedures and formalities the Company had not cleared my settlement even after 3 months).The CEO agreed in front of the HR and promised that he will pay all my settlement in lumpsum by end of September 2019. I told him that I cannot work on half pay in this present job.

Later, the CEO and HR along with other staffs, held a meeting in the office, and the CEO, HR and others began to belittle my way of working.The credit of documentation work done by me was also given to others. I lost my calm and told the CEO, I will not continue to work in the company anymore, because if they have so much disregard about my work or the way of my work I am not needed here.

I never went back to work since then. At the time of my resignation, I was handling the works with my Assistant, but within a week of my quitting she left the job too, because she could not handle the works.The CEO called me several times to come and visit office, to handover files or even to see them but I have refused.I know, he is calling me because, the new staff is not experienced though she is paid more than me.So, it is very clear that, the CEO intended me to work 3 days so that I ended up doing the remaining days work of the department in those three days for half pay!.

I have continuously, requested for payment of my full & final settlement in lumpsum to the MD, CEO and the HR but they have not paid it to me.The HR spoke very rudely, when I asked her to settle the dues. The MD never responded to my text messages (from 12/10/2019 onwards) or to my emails.Then,he sent an SMS on 13/12/2019 saying that HR has told him that they are waiting for me to come to handover before paying my settlement. I have stood by the Company for nearly 10years , tolerating a lot of stress inflicted at their whims and fancies and helping the Company despite all their behaviour.They have no valid reason for treating me so callously and withholding my full and final settlement.Their actions validate their exploitation of an employee.

To lure me to come to office, the CEO had bargained with me and paid my last month’s salary(i.e. Salary for September 2019) and one previous 2018 year’s bonus in October and November 2019 in two separate months but I never went because I was very clear from the beginning, that they have to pay me my settlement in lump-sum.

I have continued to help the Company over the phone even during these months after resignation,whenever I recieved calls for any clarifications and guidance.

The CEO is now telling that he will pay my settlement bit by bit every month. I was frustrated and I conveyed to the CEO, that I will not visit the office. I had received no handing-over when I had joined this Legal & Doc dept either initially or later in 2017 from my colleague.My original work responsibilities had already been handed over and redistributed to the other staffs and the CEO himself in 2017.On my rejoining office, these staffs have never handed it back to me by any such ceremony, that they are now expecting me to do !

On 24/12/2019, the MD called me and told me to visit the office and extend help to ensure goodwill but after thinking over the kind of behavior they have shown, I have refused to do so. Thereafter, I have again reminded for clearing my settlements but there has been no response.

I was forced to resign because it had exceedingly crossed my limits of patience. Their offer of keeping me in half-pay job and not terminating me, is not a favour but it is for their own benefit. This resignation has caused me loss of income and stress due to these follow-up reminders for clearing settlement. My full and final settlement (in lump-sum )should have been paid by September 2019 or at least by October 2019.

I have to recover my full and final settlement which includes the previous 2019 year’s bonus, two over-time payments(applied but not paid), gratuity, pending increments which was due in lump-sum with interest for delay, apart from the Provident Fund. I also need Experience Certificate from the Company clearly mentioning my work responsibilities. I will appreciate, If I could be provided with any other additional relief as is fair and just in accordance to the law towards any of the facts mentioned herein above.

So please tell me what is the procedure for me to follow and what reliefs i can get and under what laws?

Please guide.

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