American Worker Sues Company For Discrimination, Alleges It Favors South Asian Workers

Newsmaker stocks to watch on Wednesday include Tata Consultancy Services, Indian Oil, Videocon Industries. (AP)

An American worker is suing his former employer for allegedly discriminating against “individuals who are not South Asian, including discrimination in hiring, placement, and termination decisions.”

In a lawsuit filed against Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. filed this week in San Francisco, plaintiff Steven Heldt charges the Indian company, which employs 14,000 people in the U.S., exhibited a pattern of discrimination against non-South Asians.

According to the complaint: “Heldt’s experience with Tata is representative of Tata’s discrimination against non-South Asians.” It details how Heldt was passed over for new positions, denied substantive tasks, “[e]xperienced substantial anti-American sentiment,” and was ultimately terminated after 20 months.

The suit contends that Tata’s workforce is “grossly disproportionate” due to the company’s “pattern and practice of employment discrimination.”

“While roughly 1-2% of the United States population is of South Asian descent, approximately 95% of Tata’s United States-based workforce is of South Asian descent (primarily from India),” the suit charges.

It further delves in the company’s heavy use of guest worker visas.

“Tata is consistently one of the top three H-1B sponsors in the United States. For example, Tata sponsored 8,701 new H-1B visas in 2013, 6,692 new H-1B visas in 2012, and 5,365 new H-1B visas in 2011,” the complaint reads.

It continues: “Similarly, L-1 visas are intended to be used to bring management level employees to the United States for temporary assignments. Between 2002 and 2011, Tata sponsored 25,908 L-1 visas. On information and belief, Tata sponsored all, or the vast majority, of these visas for South Asian workers (primarily Indian).”

In an emailed statement to The Wall Street Journal the company argued, “TCS is confident that Mr. Heldt’s allegations are baseless, and plans to vigorously defend itself against his claims,” but did not address Heldt’s specific charges.

Heldt’s lawsuit comes the same month a bipartisan group of senators called for an investigation into other companied associated with heavy H-1B use, specifically Southern California Edison.