The law firm representing Araceli Roiz, the iGate employee who is allegedly pregnant with Phaneesh Murthy's child, is contemplating court action against the ousted CEO and the company as well.
California-based law firm, Aiman-Smith & Marcy, made startling revelations in connection with Roiz's sexual harassment claims in a press release issued late on Wednesday night. The attorneys of this firm had earlier represented two other women - Reka Maximovitch and Jennifer Griffith, in sexual harassment lawsuits against Phaneesh while he was working at Infosys, before 2002.
The law firm said that Phaneesh forced Roiz, the head of Investor Relations, into a relationship which resulted in pregnancy. He forced her to abort the child, but she refused to do so. He then he asked her to leave the company to keep the relationship a secret and keep his position secure.
"The only reason Mr. Murthy was able to engage in these abusive and harassing actions is because he was Ms Roiz's employer. The CEO of any company, as Mr. Murthy was here, has tremendous economic and personal power over his subordinates," the press statement said.
"As a result of Mr. Murthy's influence over Ms Roiz, she continued the relationship with him and ultimately, Ms Roiz became pregnant with Mr. Murthy's child. When he discovered this, Mr. Murthy pressured Ms Roiz to have an abortion. When she refused, he told her to leave the company, quietly, to protect his position as CEO."
Earlier, in a conference call with the media on Tuesday, Phaneesh admitted to his relationship with Roiz but denied charges of sexual harassment saying that the relationship was consensual. He accused Roiz of trying to extort money from him. Responding to Phaneesh's comments, Roiz's law firm said, "Mr. 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."
The law firm said that it would be taking court action against iGate too. "Under California law, because Mr. Murthy was an officer and director of iGate, his actions were the actions of iGate, and iGate, too, is liable for the acts of Mr. Murthy," the statement said. [To read the full text of the press release from Aiman-Smith & Marcy,click here].
The California-based iGate had earlier dismissed harassment allegations against Phaneesh, but terminated his employment for failing to inform the company board about his relationship with a subordinate employee, as required under the company's HR policy. The company is also reportedly probing into the issue.