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TCS Faces US Jury Over Firing of American Employees: Report

TCS denies any unlawful bias in its US operations and says in court filings that the Caucasian American leading the lawsuit was removed from one of its projects and ultimately terminated over “performance concerns”.

News18.com

Updated:November 6, 2018, 12:46 PM IST
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TCS Faces US Jury Over Firing of American Employees: Report
Representative image. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: Tata Consultancy Services Ltd is facing a US jury asking why engineers hired at its American outposts are 13 times as likely to be fired if they’re not South Asian, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The Indian IT outsourcing company will be going on trial on Monday in California over racial discrimination claims by American workers who lost their jobs at TCS offices in the US because they hadn’t been assigned to any of its clients.

The trial will also affect work-visa programs companies use to bring overseas workers to the states, a practice US President Donald Trump has criticised in his protectionist push. TCS, Asia’s largest outsourcer, and rival Indian information technology staffing firms Infosys and Wipro have all been squeezed by the Trump administration to hire more Americans on US soil.

TCS denies any unlawful bias in its US operations and says in court filings that the Caucasian American leading the lawsuit was removed from one of its projects and ultimately terminated over “performance concerns”. TCS told Bloomberg it can’t comment specifically on the pending litigation, but believes it has a strong case and will prevail at trial.

“Our success is based on our ability to provide the best talent available, both in the US and globally, based purely on the individual’s specialized experience, skills and fit for each client’s specific needs,” the report quoted a company spokesperson. “TCS also strictly adheres to all federal and state equal employment opportunity laws and regulations.”

The jury is expected to be shown statistical evidence that the odds of race and national origin not being a factor in TCS’s termination decisions are less than one in a billion. That’s because, since 2011, the company fired 12.6 percent of its non-South Asian workers in the US, compared with less than 1 percent of its South Asian employees, according to the complaint.

While TCS has won awards as a top employer in North America, the lawsuit paints a different picture. The case was brought as a class action on behalf of about 1,000 non-South Asians — most of them US citizens — who were fired by TCS while on “benched” status, meaning they were laid off by the company while they were between job assignments.

The plaintiffs allege TCS has engaged in a “systematic pattern and practice of discrimination” by favoring Indian ex-pats and visa-ready workers from India for US positions. That has resulted in a workforce that’s almost 80 percent South Asian, far greater than the 12 percent representation of South Asians in the US IT workforce, according to the complaint.
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