'Forced to resign for speaking against religious bias'

'Forced to resign for speaking against religious bias'

A 37-year-old software professional has claimed that he was forced to resign after he raised his voice against "religious discrimination" and "mental harassment" by his senior manager in a Pune-based firm.

In a letter to the labour commissioner, Aman Khan, who was working as a technical lead with EXFO Electro-optical India Pvt Ltd, claimed that the company's HR had informed him about termination of his services on June 12 and "forced" him to sign his "resignation" letter.

"When I was back from Namaaz on April 6 this year, a senior manager called me to his cabin and started discussing the dos and dont's over my religious practices and the handkerchief I wore while offering Namaaz.

"Despite my reluctance and repeated pleas against discussing the religion matters, he continued to make remarks over my religious practices and attire," Khan stated in his complaint, which he shared with reporters.

The company stated that it didn't comment on individual employees as part of its policy.

Khan claimed that he had a heated argument over the issue and told his manager that it was his "constitutional right" to follow his religion.

"After being harassed, I reported the matter to HR and requested them to take disciplinary action but the whole management here in Pune office started to protect him," he stated.

Khan said he complained to the head office of the company in Canada, following which the manager tendered him a written apology.

"On June 12, I was told that I have been terminated on the account of behavioural issues. But my question is if I had behavioural issues, why would I be prompted from Principal Software Tester to Technical Lead in one year of my joining?" he questioned.

Khan stated that he joined the firm in September 2015.

Confirming the receipt of Khan's complaint, Assistant Labour Commissioner Nikhil Walke said a meeting of both parties has been scheduled on June 29.

Issuing a statement, the company said, "EXFO is an Equal Opportunity Employer and we have utmost respect for our employees and their beliefs. We value our employees and we are proud to have a diverse workforce. We do not tolerate any kind of discrimination.

We take any feedback from our employees very seriously. Our employee attrition rate is one of the lowest in industry. Annual performance management is a well-established process and it is aimed at retaining our high performing employees. Out of respect for employee privacy, EXFO does not comment on individual employee conduct / performance".