Sucheta Dalal :Vindictive Action?
Sucheta Dalal

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Vindictive Action?  

April 22, 2009



The war between the bourses hit a new low in early April; their employees got caught in the crossfire. A Sebastin, a compliance officer at the National Stock Exchange (NSE), who resigned in October 2008 to switch to the Multi Commodity Exchange, became a victim of the NSE’s wrath. On 6th April, the NSE issued a ’public notice‘ in all leading business newspapers with the employee’s photograph announcing that anyone dealing with the “said Mr. A Sebastin” would do so at their own risk. Normally, such notices are published only if an employee is guilty of financial fraud or a serious betrayal of trust. However, there is no such mention. Instead, the NSE issued a clarification responding to media queries saying that Mr Sebastin’s  “services were terminated” because he ”had not met the company’s requirements.” It also indicated, without being specific, that the employee had failed to complete “severance” formalities. Mr Sebastin, however, has evidence of a formal handover of charge, an exit interview and an email assurance that he would be relieved. He says that the public notice was issued after he sent a legal notice to the NSE on 4th April demanding severance benefits like Provident Fund (PF) and gratuity. Holding back PF is not legal, so the NSE reportedly credited his PF account immediately after he served the legal notice but simultaneously issued him a termination letter followed by the public notice, almost six months after he had quit the Exchange. Mr Sebastin feels deeply humiliated by the deliberate damage to his reputation and is examining his options. Meanwhile, the NSE’s notice has demoralised and scared other employees of this professionally-run exchange. The NSE’s action of defaming and humiliating an employee who quit to join a rival is rather extreme and bizarre because NSE is not a persecuted underdog, but a hugely profitable monopoly which enjoys almost a blind trust of the regulator and finance ministry. Why then did NSE feel threatened by Mr Sebastin’s exit?


-- Sucheta Dalal