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Madras High Court’s Madurai Bench upholds a bank employee’s ‘right to vent’ and overturns a charge memo issued to him.

Madras High Court's Madurai Bench upholds a bank employee's 'right to vent' and overturns a charge memo issued to him.

Employees cannot be denied the right to vent and express their grievances in public, according to the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. A Lakshminarayanan, a Group B office assistant (multi-purpose) at Tamil Nadu Grama Bank in Thoothukudi, filed the petition.

Lakshminarayanan had posted a message on a WhatsApp group criticising his superiors. As a result, he received a memo and was on the verge of being fired. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, on the other hand, observed that it is natural for employees to have disagreements with their coworkers, superiors, or even their employers; and that it is a good practice for organisations to allow their employees to express their issues or grievances, as this will only help them vent. According to the Bench, allowing employees to vent is not harmful to the organisation as long as it does not tarnish their reputation in any way.

In this particular case, because Lakshminarayanan did not make his criticism public, it could not be considered misconduct. He had only “vented” within a private WhatsApp Group that he had created. He couldn’t be ‘thought-policed’ because the Group clearly had limited access. In addition, Lakshminarayanan is a member of the Tamil Nadu Grama Bank Workers Union.

The employee could have been charged with misconduct if the exchange had occurred in a public place or on a platform that anyone could access, according to the Bench. The Bench also stated that groups, like individuals, have privacy rights. As a result, if employers plant a mole to gather information about workplace groups, this could be considered an unfair labour practice.

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