California accuses Cisco of career discrimination centered on Indian employee’s caste



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

U.S. employment law does not precisely bar caste-based discrimination, but California’s Office of Truthful Employment and Housing contends in the lawsuit that the Hindu faith’s lingering caste process is centered on secured classes these kinds of as religion.

The lawsuit, filed in federal courtroom in San Jose, does not identify the alleged sufferer. It states he has been a principal engineer at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters because Oct 2015 and that he was born at the base of caste hierarchy as a Dalit, after named “untouchables.”

Like other big Silicon Valley businesses, Cisco’s workforce includes 1000’s of Indian immigrants, most of whom were being born Brahmins or other substantial castes. Previous Cisco engineering administrators Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella also are defendants in the lawsuit, which accuses them of harassment for internally enforcing the caste hierarchy.

Cisco systems

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

‘Cisco is fully commited to an inclusive place of work for all’

Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Blum stated the network equipment maker adopted its course of action to look into worker fears in this scenario and would “vigorously defend by itself” from the lawsuit. “Cisco is committed to an inclusive workplace for all,” she mentioned. “We ended up fully in compliance with all legislation as effectively as our possess procedures.”

Iyer and Kompella did not promptly answer to requests for remark. It was not quickly recognised if the two have retained lawyers. The civil rights group Equality Labs in a 2018 report cited in the lawsuit located that 67% of Dalits surveyed felt treated unfairly at their U.S. workplaces.

At Cisco, the unnamed personnel documented Iyer to human methods in November 2016 for outing him as a Dalit to colleagues. Iyer allegedly retaliated, but Cisco determined caste discrimination was not unlawful and issues ongoing as a result of 2018, the lawsuit states. Cisco reassigned and isolated the personnel, rejected a increase and opportunities that would have led to 1 and denied two promotions, according to the lawsuit.

Hindus typically grouped men and women into four key castes centered on ancestry, and Dalits in India even now struggle with obtain to instruction and careers 65 decades soon after India banned caste-based mostly discrimination.

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