Infosys faces discrimination lawsuit in US for hiring bias

Published: 07th August 2013 07:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th August 2013 09:26 AM   |  A+A-

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Indian software exporter Infosys has found itself in the middle of another controversy in the US after a Wisconsin-based IT professional filed a lawsuit alleging that the software company discriminates people based on their national origin while hiring.

Brenda Koehler, an IT professional with 15 years experience, filed a lawsuit stating that she was qualified for a position and that the company chose to hire another professional of South Asian descent.

The allegations coming at a time when the US authorities are training its guns against misuse of H-1B visas by Indian companies among others allegations. An American court dismissed an earlier harassment charge filed by one of Infosys’ American employees, Jack ‘Jay’ Palmer. He had alleged harassment by the company after he accused the company of using short term business visas instead of the work visas.

Added to this is eight provisions in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. The bill proposes ban on client site placement for H-1B Workers as well as capping the limit on total percentage of H-1B and L-1 workforce in the US among other provisions.

Agencies reported that Koehler applied for the position of ‘Lead VMware/Windows administrator’ in April 2012. According to agencies, the lawsuit stated, “Infosys has engaged in systematic, company-wide discrimination against individuals based on their national origin. Specifically, Infosys has discriminated against individuals who are not of South Asian (including but not necessarily limited to India, Nepal, Bangladesh) descent.” It stated that such practices were in violation of Civil Rights Act 1964 (Title VII).

The lawsuit, however, states that 90% of the 15,000 employees of the company in the US were of South Asian origin. It further states that the company has reached this ‘grossly disproportionate workforce’ by ‘abusing H-1B and B-1 visa process.

When contacted, an Infosys spokesperson said, “Infosys is an equal opportunity employer. We categorically deny Ms. Koehler’s claims. We look forward to addressing this matter in court, not in public venues where facts can become mixed with rumour, opinion and speculation.” They further said that  no proof of class action suitability has been presented and no court has ruled that the case is appropriate for class action treatment.

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