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Roiz's lawyers plan to sue iGate, Murthy

Source : BUSINESS_STANDARD
Last Updated: Thu, May 23, 2013 20:30 hrs
Other CEOs facing sexual harassment cases

Nasdaq-listed iGate is set to be sued by Araceli Roiz, the employee who earlier this week sent the company a legal notice alleging sexual harassment by its CEO, Phaneesh Murthy. iGate subsequently sacked Murthy on Tuesday.

Aiman-Smith & Marcy, the law firm representing Roiz, said it was contemplating legal action against Murthy, as well as iGate, which is liable for any action of its CEO during his stint in the company.

"On behalf of Ms Roiz, we are contemplating next steps, which will certainly include court action against Mr Murthy and iGate," the California-based law firm said in a press statement late last night.

. Read Aiman-Smith & Marcy press release (Full Text)

The statement said Roiz, who joined the company in May 2010 in the investor relations department, was reporting to Murthy on a day-to-day basis, since her "nominal supervisor" Sujit Sircar, CFO of iGate, was based in India. Murthy established a personal relationship with Roiz under the pretext of business necessity. After she became pregnant with his child, Murthy forced her to go for an abortion and even attempted to throw her out of the job, to keep his relationship a secret.
"There remains the question of whether, given Murthy's history of predatory actions toward female employees, iGate did all that it should have done to oversee and control Murthy and to provide some method for women at iGate to report his actions," it added.

Aiman-Smith & Marcy also said that the law firm is contemplating its next steps, "which will certainly include court action against Murthy and iGate."

Meanwhile, Murthy said in a press statement that he does not want to comment any further since the matter is heading for the court. "There are always two sides to the truth and now that the matter is definitely heading to court, I can't comment anymore," the statement added.

Here is the point by point allegation made by Murthy during his interaction with media persons on Tuesday and the clarification given by the law firm:

As to the timing of Murthy's disclosure of his relationship to the board: When Roiz refused to have an abortion, Murthy attempted to get her to leave the company and keep their relationship a secret. It was not until after Roiz refused to do so and informed him that she would be seeking legal representation and her lawyers contacted Murthy's counsel that he reluctantly informed the board of the relationship, just before the Board would have learned all this on its own from other sources.

On Murthy saying the relationship with Roiz lasted just for few months: Murthy's statement is a lie - Murthy began pursuing Roiz shortly after her employment began in 2010.

On Murthy's comments that Roiz or her attorneys are engaging in 'extortion': Murthy's comments are defamatory and a despicable attempt to 'blame the victim', who only wants to somehow continue her career and support her child. Murthy has, astonishingly, attempted to gain sympathy based on his own prior bad actions.

Roiz selected the law firm, Aiman-Smith & Marcy, based upon the firm's excellent reputation as vigorous advocates for victims of employment discrimination and its prior success in getting compensation for some of Murthy's previous victims

On iGate's press statement which says Murthy had not violated its sexual harassment policy: Under California law, the employer is liable for the conduct of its CEO. We do not believe a full, impartial, investigation can possibly result in this conclusion, but we note that, according to iGate, its investigation is continuing. We hope that iGate will take appropriate responsibility in this matter and that it can be concluded on that basis.

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