There is significant racial unrest throughout the United States, and this has been particularly clear in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Now, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has entered into the racial discrimination arena with a new lawsuit against Cisco for caste discrimination towards an Indian American engineer. Here, the Los Angeles workplace discrimination attorneys at The Rager Law Firm want to discuss this case and how it can affect workers throughout the state.
It may be strange to see that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a lawsuit against a major company regarding a caste system that most people think of as being only in India. However, the DFEH launched this lawsuit against Cisco after one of its Indian American engineers claimed he was harassed by two coworkers and faced retaliation after complaining about the discrimination to the company.
Caste systems are structures of oppression that affect more than 260 million people across the world. According to the Washington Post, “This exclusionary system ranks people at birth, with one’s caste determining every aspect of their life – their job, whom they marry, and where they worship.” In particular, the Dalit caste, also branded as “untouchable” in India, face discrimination in US workforces as well.
In its lawsuit, the DFEH alleges that Cisco “engaged in unlawful employment practices on the basis of religion, ancestry, national origin/ethnicity, and race/color” against the engineer, who is of the Dalit caste. The lawsuit names two supervisors on the engineer’s team as co-defendants in the case who are from India’s highest caste systems and knew the engineer was a Dalit.
The lawsuit says that the engineer was expected to accept the caste hierarchy within the workplace, and thereby be expected to receive less pay, fewer opportunities, and various other inferior terms and conditions of employment. The lawsuit states that when the engineer opposed this type of treatment, the supervisors retaliated against introducing and isolating him from colleagues.
Under California law, no employee can be discriminated against based on their race, ancestry, national origin, or creed. This includes discrimination based on an unrecognized and illegal caste system. Those who experience this type of discrimination in the workplace may be entitled to compensation for what they have endured, including pain and suffering damages, lost wages, and more.
If you or somebody you love is facing discrimination in the workplace, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At The Rager Law Firm, Los Angeles employment law attorneys have extensive experience handling employment discrimination cases, and we understand what it takes to ensure you are fairly compensated for what has happened. We will conduct a full investigation into your claims because we believe that you deserve quality legal representation in these incidents.
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