California State has sued Cisco because of caste bias. The complainant was not disclosed; however; it was mentioned that the former employee worked at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters.
On Tuesday, California state sued Cisco Systems Inc for the discriminatory against an Indian-American employee allegation. This causes for the former employee to be harassed by two managers, for he was from a lower Indian caste than them. U.S. labor employment law does not particularly bar caste-based discrimination; however, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing argues in the lawsuit that the Hindu faith’s lingering caste system is based on protected classes such as religion.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Jose did not mention the name of the victim. They state that the victim has been a principal engineer at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters since October 2015 and that he was born at the bottom of caste hierarchy as a Dalit also called as “untouchables.”
Cisco’s workforce includes thousands of Indian immigrants, most of whom were born Brahmins or other high castes. The alleged defendants, Former Cisco engineering managers Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella, were accused of harassment for internally enforcing the Indian caste hierarchy.
Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Blum stated that the network gear maker followed its process to investigate employee concerns in this case and would “vigorously defend itself” against the lawsuit.
“Cisco is committed to an inclusive workplace for all,” Blum said. “We were fully in compliance with all laws as well as our policies.”
She then added that Iyer and Kompella did not immediately answer requests for comment. It was not known if the two have kept attorneys. The civil rights group Equality Labs in a 2018 report cited in the lawsuit found that 67% of Untouchables surveyed felt treated as they were unfairly at their U.S. workplaces.
The unnamed employee reported Iyer to HR last November 2016 for calling out the victim as a Dalit to colleagues. One of the defendants, Iyer, allegedly retaliated, and the company was determined that caste discrimination was not illegal and issues continued through 2018, the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, Cisco reassigned and isolated the said employee, rejected opportunities and a raise and denied two promotions. The Hindus traditionally categorize people into four dominant castes based on their ancestry, and Dalits or the untouchables in India still struggle with access to education and jobs after India outlawed caste-based discrimination.