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CALIFORNIA RAPS CISCO FOR DISCRIMINATION VS INDIAN-AMERICAN WORKER

California regulators sued Cisco Systems Inc. on Tuesday (Wednesday, July 2, 2020), accusing it of discriminating against an Indian-American employee and allowing him to be harassed by two managers because he was from a lower Indian caste than them Paresh Dave reported for Reuters.


US employment law does not specifically bar caste-based discrimination, but California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing contends 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, does not name the alleged victim. It states he 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, once called “untouchables.”

Like other large Silicon Valley employers, Cisco’s workforce includes thousands of Indian immigrants, most of whom were born Brahmins or other high castes. Former Cisco engineering managers Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella also are defendants in the lawsuit, which accuses them of harassment for internally enforcing the caste hierarchy. Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Blum said the network gear maker followed its process to investigate employee concerns in this case and would “vigorously defend itself” against the lawsuit.