NEW YORK: Phaneesh Murthy, who was sacked as the CEO of iGate on Tuesday, for sexually harassing company investor relations chief Araceli Roiz, reportedly impregnated the woman and now faces court action.
According to reports quoting the California law firm, Aiman-Smith & Marcy, who are representing Roiz, she was pregnant with Murthy’s child when she was asked to leave the company after he failed to persuade her to abort the child.
“When she refused, he told her to leave the company, quietly, to protect his position as CEO,” the Times of India reported quoting the law firm.
“In this way, Mr Murthy was able to induce Ms Roiz into behaviour and action that she would have found unthinkable at the beginning of her employment,” the report said.
The report says Murthy reportedly started pursuing the woman shortly after she joined iGate in 2010 even as the sacked CEO has admitted their relationship was more than friendship but it started only a few months ago.
The law firm, “The CEO of any company, as Mr Murthy was here, has tremendous economic and personal power over his subordinates. Thus, Ms Roiz was dependent on her continued employment for her basic living expenses and, further, Mr Murthy conditioned her further employment and career advancement opportunities on her entering into a relationship with him which, eventually and reluctantly, she did. When she tried to extricate herself from the relationship, he reduced her responsibilities, threatened her continued employment, and pressured her to continue the relationship.’’
Since Murthy has rebutted the sexual harassment charges, calling it `extortion,’ the law firm said, “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.”
Since the firm had previously represented another victim of Murthy’s sexual harassment when he was with Infosys in 2002, the law firm said, “Ms 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 Mr. Murthy’s previous victims.’’
Infosys had to shell out $3 million to settle that case against Murthy in 2003.
The law firm said iGate also faced law action as Murthy was their employee.