Supreme Court Upholds Employer’s Authority Over Employment Terms

Posted On - 15 May, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva

[1]The respondent employee was appointed as the Regional Business Head (South) in 2009, thereafter he resigned in 2011. However, he filed a petition before the deputy labour commissioner alleging that his resignation was forced. The labour court in 2017 passed an award stating that the employee failed to prove that he was a ‘workman’ and was performing the role of a manager. The respondent filed a petition before the High Court which was partially allowed holding that he was a ‘workman’.

The company’s appeal was dismissed by the Division Bench, which led them to approach the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court  while deciding whether the respondent would or would not come within the definitional stipulation of a “workman” as laid out under Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (“ID Act”) held that mere absence of power to appoint, dismiss or hold disciplinary inquiries against other employees, would not and could not be the sole criterion to determine such an issue.

The court further observed that a person, in the employment of any company, cannot dictate the terms of his employment to his employer. Only because things did not turn out the way the respondent wanted them to, or that his grievances were not adequately or appropriately addressed, cannot lead to the presumption that the resignation was forced upon him by the Company. Bearing due regard to the nature of duties performed by the respondent, the court held that it was satisfied that the same do not entail him being placed under the cover of Section 2(s), ID Act.

[1] Civil Appeal No. 5187 of 2023