Companies caught in toxic social media wars over riots in Delhi, CAA

BENGALURU: The polarization caused by the Delhi riots and the CAA/NRC protests is spreading to the business world. The entrepreneur turned to Twitter to proudly declare: “2 Muslim employees had shared their anti-CAA publications. I have fired you both with immediate effect.

The publication, which is not available now, received 50,000 likes, including BJP leader Kapil Mishra and TVS Capital Funds Gopal Srinivasan MD. Some labor lawyers said that the dismissed employees will have the right to sue for unjustified dismissal given the right of expression and the private nature of the communication (WhatsApp status) in their personal mobile numbers (not on the company's platforms).

Barkha Trehan, who runs an event management company and a PurushAayog NGO with about 50 employees according to his page, saw his profile suspended by Twitter on Sunday night. “In a startup or any company that is under the scope of industrial laws, firing an employee without due process and investigation is illegal. And one certainly cannot be fired for expressing an opinion, that is definitely illegal, said lawyer Sanjay Singhvi.

The RPG president asked: “Can an employer fire a person for opinions expressed in an employee's personal space? To me it seems unfair, however, it needs a debate. Barkha Trehan's Twitter thread saw other employers take an oath that they would also fire employees against CAA legislation, but there were others who offered to hire laid-off employees.

“It is illegal to fire employees for political opinions. On the other hand, employees should not have an active political status, as it drags the company into political issues. Like religion, it should be a private matter, said Gopal Srinivasan of TVS.

Meanwhile, Dell and many Twitter users interrogated her last week for provocative messages from people who, it was said, were her employees. Dell and HCL Tech have not responded to requests for comments. A former Lalit Group chef, based in the United Arab Emirates, published threats of rape to a Swati Khanna for posting peace messages. Internet users initially demanded that the Lalit Group take action, but the Group clarified that Singh is no longer his employee.