Accused of discriminating against non-South Asians

Nearly nine months after IT firm Infosys settled two American lawsuits , the company is in legal soup again. A Wisconsin-based IT professional has filed a lawsuit against Infosys, alleging that she was not hired for a position in the United States because of her nationality.

The company, however, has categorically denied the allegations.

Brenda Koehler, an IT worker with over 15 years industry experience, has alleged that while she was qualified for the position to which she applied, Infosys discriminated against her and chose to hire an individual of South Asian descent for the position. She has also claimed that the company systematically discriminates against people of non-South Asian descent.

“Infosys discriminates through disparate treatment in hiring and disparate impact in hiring in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Ms. Koehler’s lawyers write in the court documents.

She had originally applied for a job as “lead VMWare/Windows Administrator” at Infosys in early 2012.

Class action status

According to the lawsuit, Ms. Koehler is seeking class action status for the “thousands” of Americans not of South Asian descent [potential plaintiffs] who were denied jobs at Infosys since Jan 1, 2009.

An Infosys spokesperson, however, claims that the firm is an equal opportunity employer.

“We look forward to addressing this matter in court, not in public venues where facts can be mixed with rumour, opinion and speculation. It is important to understand that no proof of class action suitability has been presented and no court has ruled that the case is appropriate for class action treatment,” the spokesperson said. The lawsuit, which cites comments from former Infosys employee Jay Palmer, also wants the court to order Infosys to adopt a “valid” method for hiring workers in the U.S.

Visa rules

The allegations come at a time when Infosys and its rivals are fighting stricter visa rules in the United States. In fact, Ms. Koehler’s suit also claims that Infosys has abused the H-1B visa process, and that nearly 90 per cent of the company’s employees in the United States are of South Asian descent. These figures, however, could not be independently verified by The Hindu.

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