Cisco Systems Inc., headquartered in San Jose, has been sued by the state of California for caste-based discrimination against an Indian-American employee | Photo via Twitter
Cisco Systems Inc., headquartered in San Jose, has been sued by the state of California for caste-based discrimination against an Indian-American employee | Photo via Twitter
Text Size:

New Delhi: The US state of California filed a lawsuit against network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc Tuesday, accusing the company of “discrimination, harassment, and retaliation” against an Indian-American employee and allowing him to be harassed by two managers on the basis of his caste.

The lawsuit was filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing in a federal court in San Jose. According to its statement released to the media, “the Complainant was expected to accept a caste hierarchy within the workplace where he held the lowest status within a team of higher-caste colleagues, receiving less pay, fewer opportunities, and other inferior terms and conditions of employment because of his religion, ancestry, national origin/ethnicity, and race/color”.

Though US employment law does not specifically bar caste-based discrimination, the state, in its suit, asserts that “the Hindu faith’s lingering caste system is based on protected classes such as religion”. The lawsuit has therefore been filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin”.

The lawsuit does not name the victim, but says he has been a principal engineer at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters since October 2015 and is a Dalit.

It states that the employee reported former Cisco engineering manager Sundar Iyer in November 2016 for “outing him as a Dalit to colleagues”. Iyer reportedly retaliated, but the company then determined caste discrimination was not illegal, and issues continued through 2018, said the lawsuit.

The lawsuit names another former Cisco manager, Ramana Kompella, who has also been accused of harassment and internally enforcing the caste hierarchy.

Asserting that the company would “vigorously defend itself”, spokesperson Robyn Blum said, “Cisco is committed to an inclusive workplace for all. We were fully in compliance with all laws as well as our own policies.”

According to a 2018 report by civil rights group Equality Labs, 67 per cent of Dalits felt unfairly treated at their US workplaces, the lawsuit mentioned.


Also read: Unilever’s Facebook ad boycott only applies to US, won’t affect Indian subsidiary HUL


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

7 Comments Share Your Views

7 COMMENTS

  1. Its high time these relgious self righteous Indian hindu racists were called out on an international level.
    This has been going on in India for a long time, and this is a lesson as to what the cat dragged home, in this case to western countries. This medievieal, mythological, my crap don’t stink crap has to be called out as it is. Racisim at its core. I recently got to work in the IT department of a big multinational corporation and i witnessed this first hand. I was stunned to hear some of the things i heard first hand from these i am better than thou “Brahmin bs”, discussion about caste etc.
    Made me puke! I am glad they are suing and i am sure this will set a trend and rat out all these bigots or whatever the hell you want to call them!

  2. Its high time these relgious self righteous Indian hindu racists were called out on an international level.
    This has been going on in India for a long time, and this is a lesson as to what the cat dragged home, in this case to western countries. This medievieal, mythological, my s*** don’t stink crap has to be called out as it is. Racisim at its core. I recently got to work in the IT department of a big multinational corporation and i witnessed this first hand. I was stunned to hear some of the things i heard first hand from these i am better than thou “Brahmin bullsit”, discussion about caste etc.
    Made me puke! I am glad they are suing and i am sure this will set a trend and rat out all these rasicts/castist or whatever the hell you want to call them!

  3. Racist company that is so dominated by h1-b workers, that the h1-b workers discriminate against each other. That is why cisco is not know as an innovative company, their profit comes more from cheap workers. Thanks for f”ing American workers. Cisco execs betray themselves through loss of innovation and creativity and their country”s workers.

  4. Cheap tactics by these activists groups. Agreed that race/skin color play a clear role in USA but bringing the filthy mindset by these Dalit radical activist groups is gaming the system.

  5. It’s okay Cisco donated $5000000 to Black lives matter.
    They should be rewarded because there’s such fine folk over there.

  6. Myself got harassed by the Hindu Brahmin RSS mindset Manager, I had my balance PTO of more than 45 days, I decided to go on Haj last year with my Approved PTO on my return, very next day when I visited the office, My Manager schedules 1×1 meeting to my surprise HR is also in the meeting room and both of them inform me about my retrenchment and asked me to send my resignation on same day. Just because I belong to different religion my Manager did the conspiracy taking senior management into confidence. My manager planned this when I was gone on PTO. The story of discrimination is very much true and it happens in Cisco.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here