Cisco Accused of Job Discrimination Primarily based on Indian Employee’s Caste

California regulators sued Cisco Programs on Tuesday, accusing it of discriminating towards an Indian-American personnel and allowing him to be harassed by two professionals since he was from a reduced Indian caste than them.

US employment regulation does not specially bar caste-based discrimination, but California’s Office of Fair Work and Housing contends in the lawsuit that the Hindu faith’s lingering caste program is centered on safeguarded lessons this sort of as religion.

The lawsuit, submitted in federal court in San Jose, does not name the alleged victim. It states he has been a principal engineer at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters since Oct 2015 and that he was born at the bottom of caste hierarchy as a Dalit, as soon as known as “untouchables.”

Like other big Silicon Valley companies, Cisco’s workforce involves thousands of Indian immigrants, most of whom ended up born Brahmins or other superior castes.

Former Cisco engineering managers Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella also are defendants in the lawsuit, which accuses them of harassment for internally enforcing the caste hierarchy.

Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Blum claimed the network gear maker followed its procedure to investigate personnel problems in this scenario and would “vigorously protect by itself” from the lawsuit.

“Cisco is committed to an inclusive office for all,” she mentioned. “We had been thoroughly in compliance with all rules as well as our own guidelines.”

Iyer and Kompella did not promptly answer to requests for comment. It was not quickly known if the two have retained lawyers.

The civil rights group Equality Labs in a 2018 report cited in the lawsuit identified that 67 p.c of Dalits surveyed felt addressed unfairly at their US workplaces.

At Cisco, the unnamed employee documented Iyer to human means in November 2016 for outing him as a Dalit to colleagues. Iyer allegedly retaliated, but Cisco decided caste discrimination was not unlawful and concerns ongoing via 2018, the lawsuit states.

Cisco reassigned and isolated the worker, rejected a raise and alternatives that would have led to just one and denied two promotions, in accordance to the lawsuit.

Hindus usually grouped men and women into four important castes dependent on ancestry, and Dalits in India nonetheless wrestle with obtain to education and learning and work opportunities 65 many years after India banned caste-centered discrimination.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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