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Technology giant faces discrimination lawsuit

Cisco System, headquartered in San Jose, is facing a lawsuit brought by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing regarding the treatment of an employee. The engineer at the center of the lawsuit is a Dalit Indian, which is considered an untouchable in India’s caste system.

The lawsuit alleges that the employee’s supervisors and co-workers, who were of a higher caste, discriminated against the man based on his status as a Dalit Indian. All of the individuals on the team had immigrated to the United States as adults.

The employee reported the problem to Cisco, but suitable action wasn’t taken, according to the filing. The lawsuit is based on a violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, both of which forbid employment discrimination based on national origin, color and race.

In the lawsuit, it is alleged that the Dalit Indian employee wasn’t provided the same opportunities as the others on the team. It’s also alleged that the individual was paid less and had to deal with harassment due to his darker skin complexion.

Cisco denies any wrongdoing and notes that the company employs a large number of Indian and foreign employees. The lawsuit claims that the company didn’t even take the time to investigate the complaint that the employee made regarding the discrimination. The company points to the “robust” process it utilized to enable employees to report issues like the one this individual was facing.

The lawsuit is a good opportunity to remind workers that immigrants have rights in this country. Anyone who is facing discrimination or harassment at work due to a protected status, including race or national origin, has the right to take action to get the behavior to cease.