“After serving as a loyal employee of Wipro for over a decade, I concluded that Wipro was not providing me with the type of career advancement opportunities I desired,” Haque was quoted in declaration presented to the US court .
An email sent to Haque didn’t elicit a response till the time of going to the press. When TOI reached out to Wipro, its spokesperson said, “Wipro does not comment on matters that are sub-judice.”
Wipro has filed a complaint against Haque for violating non-compete covenants in his employment contract by joining Wipro’s direct competitor Cognizant.
Haque took charge as the chief commercial officer at Cognizant on August 1 and the letter cited that the new role involves a more expansive portfolio of responsibilities, the potential to earn more money, and more opportunity for growth. He relocated to California after he took up the new position with Cognizant. “For the next two months Wipro did nothing until Mr. Haque made an inquiry to Wipro human resources personnel about the payment of the bonus due to him for his last quarter of work at Wipro, and about the transfer of his provident and pension funds that remain in Wipro’s control. The day after Mr. Haque inquired about these payments, he was surprised to receive your letter that accused him, for the first time, of violating alleged restrictive covenants,” Haque’s law firm said in response to Wipro’s email last year.
Haque’s lawyer said Wipro’s belated efforts to avoid payment of the bonus, and to enforce an alleged noncompetition agreement that would preclude Haque from working in the industry are not viable. “Haque dedicated the bulk of his career to Wipro and has no ill-will or desire to harm the company. He is, however, entitled to pursue and advance his career without being threatened with legal action. The fact remains that Mr. Haque is owed his bonus for the last quarter that he worked for Wipro, and he would like to resolve these outstanding issues amicably and promptly.”
Haque’s lawyer said under the New Jersey law, a non-compete aimed merely at “extinguishing competition” from a former employee will not be enforced. “As a California resident, any alleged non-competition agreement will be unenforceable against Mr. Haque.”