Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS) will now have to defend itself in a trial in the United States over allegations that it showed bias against American workers.
A federal judge in Oakland, California, on Dec. 27 expanded the case, which was filed in 2015, into class action on behalf of the American complainants who allegedly lost their jobs at TCS offices since they were not assigned to any of the company’s clients, Bloomberg reported.
The judge also rejected TCS’ request to dismiss the lawsuit that accuses the Indian IT firm of violating anti-discrimination laws by favoring South Asians. Complainants Steven Heldt, Brian Buchanan, and Christopher Slaight allege that TCS discriminated against them through its hiring, employment, and/or termination practices based on race and national origin.
“TCS has a pattern and practice of intentional discrimination in its United States workforce whereby they treat persons of South Asian descent, South Asian race, and South Asian national origin, more favorably than those who are not South Asian, including plaintiffs,” said a court statement, reported Leagle.com.
Buchanan, an IT professional, was employed by Southern California Edison (SCE) from 1986 until February 2015. In July 2014, he was informed along with approximately 400 coworkers that their services would be terminated and that they would be replaced by TCS employees.
Buchanan agreed to remain in his position with SCE until early 2015 to train the incoming TCS employees and was discharged in February 2015 when TCS assumed primary responsibility for SCE’s IT needs.
Buchanan also attended a job fair organized by SCE at which he met a TCS hiring manager to express his interest in a position with TCS at SCE or otherwise. However, he alleges that TCS did not show any interest despite his extensive qualifications and relevant experience. It hired only five of the 28 members of Buchanan’s team at SCE, three of whom were South Asians.
TCS, on the other hand, has argued that Buchanan’s experience does not prove he was a victim of bias. He has “no idea” whether the application process was discriminatory as he didn’t attend any of the town hall meetings he was invited to during the Edison transition to learn about open positions with TCS and how to apply for them. He did not even apply for a specific job, the company said in a court filing.
Slaight says that he was put on the “bench” beginning in March 2013. Even though he actively pursued new placements with TCS, he claimed that he was terminated less than a month later, in April 2013.