Cheil India faces flak from the industry over alleged flouting of Covid norms

In the light of two covid deaths of its employees, the agency has been criticised for allegedly asking its people to work from the office

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Apr 29, 2021 1:23 PM  | 3 min read

As the country battles the deadliest wave of Covid-19, Cheil India has found itself in the centre of a controversy after an ex-employee called it out on LinkedIn for forcing people to work from the office. Soon after Rahul Bhatnagar, currently 22feet Tribal Worldwide's Creative Director, posted about the agency’s culture, the social media raged up with negative comments about the agency.

Another former employee, Nirmal Kumar commented, “Cheil India Your priority was never US, from biased workplace to harassment by clients and ex-pats. Every ex Cheil India employee will agree on this. 3 lives lost because they were busy making designs for TV/fridge/mobile. What a sad story. I wish someone files a police case and sues the so-called management. Many of us will not speak because we still need better 'activities' on #linkedin and no employer will give us a job and that's so cruel. (sic)” 

Brand and comm strategist Atishi Pradhan commented, “Thank you for writing about this. I have been watching from the sidelines since May 2020, wondering what is going through the heads of the leadership of this agency. And now they are trying to cover it up with posts on social media that say "our priority is you" -- how stupid do they think people are? (sic)” 

Another former account executive Mahima Chhabra shared her experience, “I remember working Cheil India and struggling with my mental and physical health because of the unusual working hours and my seniors didn’t even bother to atleast hear me out. Speaking from my own experience, Cheil India is definitely not a good place to work. These people think they’ve bought employees. All they care about is their business. Kindly do not make overworking employees a norm or practice. It’s not alright anywhere in the world. It is just inhuman. (Sic)” 

Now, in an official statement, Cheil India has denied all the allegations. The agency noted that the offices were operating at 40-45 per cent capacity in January 2021 with all safety measures in place, and shifted to complete work from home model from earlier this month. 

“Cheil India has been following all government protocols and safety guidelines since the onset of Pandemic last year. We started with 10% capacity last year. We have constantly been amending our Work from Office policies and ensuring the complete safety of all our employees at the workplace. From weekly tests for all our employees to maintaining complete social distancing, from sanitization of our office on regular intervals to following all safety and hygiene measures, we were adhering to all the government laid guidelines. We were operating at 40-45% capacity in January 2021 and completely shifted to work from home model beginning April 2021,” it shared. 

The agency further noted, “India’s Covid crisis has been beyond heartbreaking.  No company was immune to the ravage of Covid. We recently lost two of our employees to Covid. It has been a very tragic and unfortunate time for all of us but we have been standing by our employees all throughout.  Amid this tough time, we are working round the clock to provide necessary medical aid and support the mental wellbeing of our people. For us, our employees are our priority."

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