CAUTIONARY TALE EPISODE 37 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Dalit girl, Andhra Pradesh, India, May 12, 2005
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On June 30, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed suit against Cisco Systems, Inc. (Cisco) and two managers for caste-based discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

The complaint alleges that an all-Indian immigrant Cisco team expected an engineer co-worker to accept a cultural caste hierarchy because he is Dalit (“Untouchable”) Indian. The DFEH asserts Dalits are “typically the darkest complexion caste,” enduring “severe inequality and unfair treatment” and “often targets of hate violence and torture.”

The state charges these Indian team members, all from higher castes, have imposed their traditionally discriminatory practices into the workplace, subjecting the engineer to disparate treatment (less pay, fewer opportunities, and other substandard terms and conditions of employment) because of his “religion, ancestry, national origin/ethnicity, and race/color.”

DFEH Director Kevin Kish commented, “It is unacceptable for workplace conditions and opportunities to be determined by a hereditary social status determined by birth. Employers must be prepared to prevent, remedy, and deter unlawful conduct against workers because of caste.”

The government also noted in a 2018 U.S. survey of South Asians, 67% of Dalits claimed unfair workplace treatment.

This lawsuit highlights why employers should ● correctly train managers and workers on preventing, detecting and resolving all forms of unlawful or inappropriate harassment, discrimination and retaliation; and ● ensure equal promotion opportunity to all qualified workers.

See also,

For more information, please contact Tim BowlesCindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

September 4, 2020

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