Cisco Dragged To Court For Discriminating Indian Employee Based On Caste In US

Ciso Dragged To Court For Discriminating Indian Employee Based On Caste In US
Ciso Dragged To Court For Discriminating Indian Employee Based On Caste In US

As per the reports, on Tuesday, the California regulators sued Cisco Systems Inc accusing them of discriminating against an Indian-American employee and further allowing him to be harassed by two managers as he belongs to a lower Indian caste.

How Did This Happen?

On Tuesday, OAKLAND, Calif, California regulators sued Cisco Systems Inc, accusing it of discriminating against an Indian-American employee.

So far, U.S. employment law does not specifically bar caste-based discrimination.

However, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing contends in the lawsuit that India’s lingering caste system is based on protected classes such as religion.

Although, the lawsuit does not name the alleged victim and filed in federal court in San Jose. 

Why Would This Happen?

Moving ahead with the case, the victim has been a principal engineer at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters since October 2015.

It said that he was raised at the bottom of India’s caste hierarchy as a Dalit, once called “untouchables.”

As per the lawsuit,  the caste hierarchy was enforced in the workplace, which accuses the two former engineering managers of harassment.

What Does Cisco Say?

According to Cisco spokeswoman, Robyn Blum, the company has followed its process to investigate employee concerns in this case and would “vigorously defend itself” against the lawsuit.

She further added, “Cisco is committed to an inclusive workplace for all. We were fully in compliance with all laws as well as our own policies.”

So far, Cisco’s workforce includes thousands of Indian immigrants like other large Silicon Valley employers.

Although, most of them were brought up as Brahmins or other high castes.

According to the lawsuit, the civil rights group Equality Labs in a 2018 report mentioned that 67% of Dalits surveyed felt treated unfairly at their U.S. workplaces.

Citing this, few employers have begun taking action. 

Last year, Massachusetts-based Brandeis University added caste to its nondiscrimination policy , which is believed to be a landmark move in U.S. higher education.

In the case of Cisco, the anonymous employee reported his manager to human resources in November 2016 for outing his caste to colleagues. 

In response to that, the manager allegedly retaliated.

According to the lawsuit, Cisco determined the caste discrimination was not illegal and issues continued through 2018.

The lawsuit mentioned that Cisco reassigned the employee’s duties and isolated him from colleagues, further rejected a raise and opportunities that would have led to one and denied him two promotions.

India banned caste-based discrimination in 1955 and in 1976, the Protection of Civil Rights Act mentioned the same, but it seems that after 65 years, Dalits in India are still struggling with access to education and jobs.

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