An ex-employee of Tata Consultancy Services, the largest software exporter from India, filed a TCS lawsuit against the company on the grounds that it discriminates against applicants and workers who are not South Asian and Indian.

With regard to hiring, staffing, benching, termination, and promotion choices, the TCS lawsuit asserts that it has a pattern of systematic discrimination against non-South Asian and non-Indian applicants and workers, and that this pattern is executed top-down at the business.

This lawsuit against the Indian software company is not the first to be filed against it. A comparable action was brought in 2015, and the business prevailed in it in 2018. At the time, the jury found that TCS did not discriminate against non-South Asian employees in any “pattern or practise.”

Before being fired, Shawn Katz, the plaintiff, had spent nine years working for the business. On December 7, this lawsuit was submitted to the District of New Jersey of the United States District Court.

People who have experienced the same or a similar injury are considered in a class action lawsuit; however, Katz claims that the precise number of participants in this proposed class action case is unclear and can be found utilising TCS’ records.

Katz claimed that throughout his nine years working for the company, while always fulfilling the requirements for advancement, he was never given a promotion. He continues by saying that despite recommendations for promotion from both management and client firms, he was benched before being let go. He asserted that TCS did not offer “meaningful help” while he was on the bench.

According to the TCS lawsuit he filed, even though about 12–13% of the US information technology sector is South Asian, TCS’ US workforce is made up of roughly 70% South Asians and “is predominantly constituted of noncitizens from India who are in the U.S. on work visas.”

The document continues by claiming that this is blatantly excessive and the outcome of the business’s employment discrimination against people who are not South Asian or Indian.

In the lawsuit, it is stated that TCS discriminates against non-South Asian and non-Indian employees throughout the organisation and favours candidates when making recruiting, staffing, promotion, and termination/retention decisions.

From the Americas, TCS gets more than half of its business.

Details of the TCS lawsuit 

Discrimination in Hiring

According to the lawsuit, TCS fills unfilled US positions with both current employees and new applicants when it wins a contract from a US client because it must do it promptly to avoid losing the project. Both local hires from the United States and people with work visas are considered to be current employees.

For available positions in the United States, both internal and external candidates must apply. According to the lawsuit, after finishing a project, they are demoted to the bench and forced to hunt for new jobs within the organisation. Like any other external candidate, they too must go through an application and interview procedure.

“During this time, the employee is encouraged to use the internal TCS portal to apply directly to roles that interest them as well as to search for open openings with the help of TCS’s staffing division, the Resource Management Group (“RMG”). The lawsuit states that TCS “terminates the employee’s employment if the person spends an extended amount of time on the bench and is unable to get a new position.”

According to US law, a hiring decision cannot be made based on a person’s race or national origin, but the complaint claims that both TCS talent acquisition and the third-party suppliers the business utilises have been instructed to draw in Indian candidates. According to the lawsuit, as a result of this discriminatory practise, it recruits an excessively high proportion of South Asians and Indians, while non-Indian and non-South Asian candidates are routinely passed over for unfilled positions and not hired as a result.

H-1B and L-1 visas

The employer must sponsor individuals for H-1B or L-1 non-immigrant work visas if they want to work on a visa. The L-1 visa is used for intracompany transfers of persons in managerial positions or with specialised knowledge, whereas the H-1B visa is utilised to hire highly qualified workers for specialty occupations. H-1B visas are restricted annually, whereas L-1 visas are not.

Because the bulk of TCS’s employees are based in India, the lawsuit claims that businesses must state in their H-1B visa petitions a particular position at a specific location that the applicant will hold if granted a visa.

“TCS aims to increase the number of visas it obtains from the federal government every year. It allegedly does this by submitting visa requests for more jobs than are really available in the US, giving it the opportunity to compile a list of “visa ready” workers in India who are ready to fill open positions in the US when they arise. It continues by saying that certain positions are misrepresented in the immigration petitions as being available when they are not.

In order to maximise visa approvals, it continues, TCS allegedly fabricates the employee positions mentioned on H-1B and L-1A (managerial jobs) visa applications. TCS then employs these individuals to work at low levels and in non-managerial capacities in the US. According to the lawsuit, the corporation also gives priority to hiring foreign nationals with visas for positions in the US.

The lawsuit gives an example of a company-wide instruction that instructed RMG to use visa-ready workers who were already in the country and to make the most of each visa.

The complaint goes on to claim that TCS “disproportionately grants” these employees higher appraisal scores and promotions more frequently than non-Indian and non-South Asian employees in order to maximise visa holders’ duration on the visa.

The lawsuit claimed that numerous non-South Asians and non-Indians were never promoted throughout their time at TCS, and as a result, the bulk of senior management in the US is South Asian and Indian.

It also notes that South Asian visa employees from India are swiftly assigned to new tasks when their project is completed, in contrast to these non-Indian employees who frequently sit on the sidelines longer and receive disproportionately more termination notices.

This leads to lower hiring rates for non-South Asian and non-Indian people as well as disproportionately greater firing rates for the same groups.

Relief sought

The requested relief calls for TCS to adopt a legal and non-discriminatory method for making decisions about hiring, promoting, terminating, and other aspects of employment; to refrain from retaliating against people who report racial discrimination; to award damages as well as front and back pay; and more.

TCS has received a summons in this situation.

Three former employees had filed the prior action, which the business prevailed in, claiming that they had been fired and given less job possibilities as a result of their racial and ethnic backgrounds. Similar allegations had been made, including that non-South Asian staff were unfairly benched and fired. According to the jury’s 2018 decision, TCS did not discriminate against non-South Asian employees in any way, shape, or form.