California accuses Cisco of job discrimination based on Indian employee’s caste

California regulators sued Cisco Programs Inc (CSCO.O) on Tuesday, accusing it of discriminating in opposition to an Indian-American worker and permitting him to be harassed by two managers as a result of he was from a decrease Indian caste than them.

US employment regulation doesn’t particularly bar caste-based discrimination, however California’s Division of Truthful Employment and Housing contends within the lawsuit that the Hindu religion’s lingering caste system is predicated on protected lessons reminiscent of faith.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court docket in San Jose, doesn’t identify the alleged sufferer. It states he has been a principal engineer at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters since October 2015 and that he was born on the backside of caste hierarchy as a Dalit, as soon as referred to as “untouchables.”

Like different massive Silicon Valley employers, Cisco’s workforce consists of hundreds of Indian immigrants, most of whom had been born Brahmins or different excessive castes.

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

Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Blum mentioned the community gear maker adopted its course of to research worker considerations on this case and would “vigorously defend itself” in opposition to the lawsuit.

“Cisco is dedicated to an inclusive office for all,” she mentioned. “We had been totally in compliance with all legal guidelines in addition to our personal insurance policies.”

Iyer and Kompella didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. It was not instantly identified if the 2 have retained attorneys.

The civil rights group Equality Labs in a 2018 report cited within the lawsuit discovered that 67 per cent of Dalits surveyed felt handled unfairly at their US workplaces.

At Cisco, the unnamed worker reported Iyer to human sources in November 2016 for outing him as a Dalit to colleagues. Iyer allegedly retaliated, however Cisco decided caste discrimination was not unlawful and points continued via 2018, the lawsuit states.

Cisco reassigned and remoted the worker, rejected a increase and alternatives that will have led to 1 and denied two promotions, based on the lawsuit.

Hindus historically grouped individuals into 4 main castes based mostly on ancestry, and Dalits in India nonetheless battle with entry to schooling and jobs 65 years after India banned caste-based discrimination.

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