California accuses Cisco of position discrimination dependent on Indian employee’s caste



California regulators sued Cisco Methods Inc on Tuesday, accusing it of discriminating towards an Indian-American staff and letting him to be harassed by two supervisors simply because he was from a decreased Indian caste than them.

U.S. work regulation does not precisely bar caste-based mostly discrimination, but California’s Office of Truthful Work and Housing contends in the lawsuit that the Hindu faith’s lingering caste system is dependent on protected lessons this sort of as religion.

The lawsuit, submitted in federal courtroom in San Jose, does not name the alleged sufferer. It states he has been a principal engineer at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters considering that Oct 2015 and that he was born at the bottom of caste hierarchy as a Dalit, once referred to as “untouchables.”

Like other big Silicon Valley employers, Cisco’s workforce consists of thousands of Indian immigrants, most of whom ended up born Brahmins or other higher castes. Former Cisco engineering professionals Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella also are defendants in the lawsuit, which accuses them of harassment for internally implementing the caste hierarchy.

Cisco systems

A indication marking a Cisco office environment is pictured in San Diego, California November 12, 2012.Reuters

‘Cisco is dedicated to an inclusive workplace for all’

Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Blum mentioned the community equipment maker followed its process to examine employee considerations in this circumstance and would “vigorously protect alone” from the lawsuit. “Cisco is committed to an inclusive workplace for all,” she reported. “We ended up absolutely in compliance with all legal guidelines as properly as our own guidelines.”

Iyer and Kompella did not straight away react to requests for comment. It was not instantly regarded if the two have retained lawyers. The civil legal rights team Equality Labs in a 2018 report cited in the lawsuit found that 67% of Dalits surveyed felt handled unfairly at their U.S. workplaces.

At Cisco, the unnamed staff documented Iyer to human resources in November 2016 for outing him as a Dalit to colleagues. Iyer allegedly retaliated, but Cisco determined caste discrimination was not illegal and issues ongoing as a result of 2018, the lawsuit states. Cisco reassigned and isolated the personnel, rejected a raise and options that would have led to just one and denied two promotions, according to the lawsuit.

Hindus typically grouped folks into four important castes based on ancestry, and Dalits in India still wrestle with access to instruction and jobs 65 decades following India banned caste-dependent discrimination.

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