The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment on the basis of their race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, martial status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status.
July 6, 2020
Lawsuit Filed Against Cisco for Harassment, Discrimination
Cisco Systems, a Silicon Valley technology company, is facing a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing regarding the treatment of a Dalit Indian man who is employed by the company. The lawsuit alleges that managers, who are also Indian, were using India’s caste system to discriminate against and harass the employee.
In India, the Dalit caste is also referred to as the untouchables. The two managers are from the highest castes in India, so they treated the employee poorly based on India’s caste system. They were acting as if the employee should accept the caste system while working in the United States. This allegedly created a hostile environment for the worker.
It is reported in the lawsuit that the employee tried to go through the company to get the issues corrected. Formal complaints to the company were ignored, according to the legal documents filed in the case.
Because of the fear of violence, retaliation and other potential issues, the employee wasn’t named in the lawsuit. It was noted that the person had been employed with the company since 2015. Cisco has denied the allegations as stated in the lawsuit and claims that the company has a “robust” process for accepting and investigating complaints of this nature.
This case shows that discrimination and harassment can occur in any work environment, even when individuals of the same nationality. It’s imperative that any worker who is experiencing discrimination reports the issues. You can also do as this employee did and turn to the legal system if the company’s internal methods for addressing matters aren’t getting the illegal actions to stop.
How many times have you wondered if you’re getting paid your fair share? Do you think you’re underpaid because of your race, sex, gender, disability, or even your prior salary history?
If you cannot work because you’re injured/sick or you need to care for a qualifying family member, eligible employees (those who worked more than 1,250 hours in the year prior for an employer with 5 or more employees) are eligible for up to 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) and/or California Family Rights Act protected Leave (CFRA).