RIL’s Janhavi Gadkar row: Companies warn staff against code of conduct violations after office too!

19 Jun,2015

By Namrata Singh, Piyush Pandey & Reeba Zachariah


If you are employed with a reputed organization, adhering to the company’s code of conduct now extends beyond work hours. Companies are becoming strict with any transgressions, even if it is committed in the personal space of an employee, and driving under the influence of alcohol is no exception to the rule.


The Janhavi Gadkar drunk driving case has put the spotlight on whether the code of conduct extends beyond office hours. Most companies we contacted responded in the affirmative. In some companies like Vodafone, the code extends to their channel partners and associates as well. Companies have in the past parted ways with erring employees on this count.


RIL, where Gadkar works as VP (legal), issued an advisory to its employees, reminding them about its policy on personal conduct and this includes “drunk“ driving and an employee’s behaviour in their personal capacity . “In official as well as personal capacity , employees at no times should indulge in any action behaviour that violates any law; or is indicative of personal indiscretion; or is socially unacceptable,“ the RIL note stated.


Companies like Indiabulls Housing Finance and Vedanta have already issued advisories to employees on the perils of drunk driving. In Vodafone India’s health safety and wellness policy , five out of eight ‘absolute safety rules’ are on road safety . “Since 2012, we have parted ways with 30 employees and over 600 vendorsoff-rolls individuals for not following the policy . Of these, seven (four employees and three off-rolls) were drink-and-drive cases. Mostly drink-and-drive is beyond working hours,“ said a Vodafone spokesperson. Vodafone India has introduced the concept of a ‘safety passport’, a unique licence that certifies that its employees have cleared the screening processes and adhere to all safety standards and practices set out.<br />


According to Santrupt Misra, director (HR), Aditya Birla Group, an organization has a right to take action if the behaviour of an employee vi olates its code of conduct.“Our general code of conduct governs many aspects of public behaviour that may have implication for the organization. Driving while drunk is against the law of the land and is covered by our code of conduct,“ said Misra.


Defensive driving is one of the mandatory courses for employees at most companies like Hindustan Unilever and the Tata Group which extend beyond work hours. “Even if any of the group employees are caught flouting traffic rules, we make an effort to counsel such offenders while sending an informal message across the line that violations will not be accepted,“ a Tata Group executive said.


A few have different rules.S Ramesh Shankar, executive VP (HR), Siemens, said, while the organization takes a lot of preventive steps including continual education, “we cannot take action on any misconduct by our employees beyond our work premises and after office hours when they are not on official duties“.


RPG Enterprises highlights the importance of socially responsible behaviour. “In the era of social media, the employer brand is highly suscep tible to the reputation loss by an inadvertent act by any employee,“ said Harsh Goenka, chairman, RPG Enterprises.


A lot of companies ensure that at events where alcohol is served, alternate arrangements are made for employees to reach home safely . Gadkar, who played a lead legal role in divestment of RIL’s stake from one of the US shale assets for $1 billion, was celebrating the success of the deal at a party , before the unfortunate accident. Being a criminal case, RIL would not initiate any action against Gadkar till pendency of investigations and judicial process, said sources.


Source:The Economic Times

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One response to “RIL’s Janhavi Gadkar row: Companies warn staff against code of conduct violations after office too!”

  1. ashok759 says:

    To give teeth to these codes of conduct, RIL should relieve Ms. Gadkar. That message would resonate throughout the organisation.

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