Moonlighting Rishad Premji

‘Moonlighting’ is violation of integrity in its deepest form – Rishad Premji

The practice of “moonlighting” is again in the spotlight as Rishad Premji, chairman of Indian tech giant Wipro said on Wednesday that his company has fired around 300 employees who were working with its competitors while in employment at Wipro.

Moonlighting is a practice in which an individual works on a second job secretly without informing the actual employer. The practice of Moonlighting which is mainly seen in the Information Technology sector is a huge headache for IT companies. The employees usually take up these secret second jobs at weekends or at night in order to escape from recognition.

Rishad Premji said that the practices such as working for competitors secretly are a complete violation of integrity “in its deepest form”. Mr Premji was speaking at the National Management Convention of AIMA (All India Management Association) when he made the statements.

During the talk, he stated that playing in a band or “working on a project over the weekend” is not as same as working for a competitor company secretly and that both should be seen separately. He also asked how will the competitors feel if their employees started working for their market rivals over the weekend.

Rishad Premji had earlier written on the microblogging platform, Twitter, that there was a lot of banter in the tech industry regarding moonlighting, and that the practice was plain cheating.

IT employees mainly take up secondary jobs or part-time gigs to earn some extra money. But at a time when intellectual property is becoming more valuable and business plans and vital documents are digital, moonlighting can sometimes cause data or information leaks. Such leak of information will give an undue leverage for competitors in the market.

Another tech giant Infosys, earlier this month informed all its employees that the company by-laws and code of conduct strictly prohibit employees from taking up another job. Any such incidents come to light, the company can take strict disciplinary actions including termination from the job. The information regarding company policy on moonlighting was received by employees in a mail titled ‘No Double Lives’ from the human resources department.

Despite all the concerns, practices such as moonlighting and taking up second jobs at night or weekends have support within the tech industry itself. A few days ago, the CEO of Tech Mahindra, CP Gurnani wrote on Twitter it is necessary to keep changing with the times and added “I welcome disruption in the ways we work”.