US jury rules in favour of TCS over alleged discrimination

According to a report in legal news portal law360.com, the unanimous nine-member jury found in an Oakland, California court Wednesday that the TCS did not have a “pattern or practice” of intentionally discriminating against non-South Asian workers due to their race or national origin.

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In a significant victory for the Indian IT outsourcing industry, a California jury unanimously sided with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), saying the Indian consulting major did not discriminate against non-South Asian workers in the US as alleged in a lawsuit.

According to a report in legal news portal law360.com, the unanimous nine-member jury found in an Oakland, California court Wednesday that the TCS did not have a “pattern or practice” of intentionally discriminating against non-South Asian workers due to their race or national origin.

The verdict came after one day of deliberations, ending a trial that began on November 5 over a class action lawsuit brought by three former TCS employees, Christopher Slaight, Seyed Amir Masoudi and Nobel Mandili, who claimed in the suit that they received fewer work opportunities and were eventually fired because of their races and national origins.

The report said that their attorney Daniel Kotchen presented data showing that the company has fired fewer than one percent of its South Asian employees, who are mostly Indian, in the US, compared with 10.6 percent of its non-South Asian employees.

The suit also alleged that the TCS let go of 78 percent of its non-South Asian workers who were taken off job assignments, or “benched” from work, between 2011 and 2014, while only 22 percent of benched South Asians were fired, even though they made up half of the company’s US workforce.

The TCS executives testified at trial that the company had recently raised its year-over-year retention rate to 82 percent from 69 percent and that the company had increased the number of US residents it hires and retains, the law360.com report said.

It added that in closing arguments, Tata’s counsel Terry Garnett of Loeb & Loeb LLP, argued that the company’s employment data show there’s been a 400 percent increase in local hires since 2011.

Garnett also said at trial that most of the workers who alleged they had been fired were let go for refusing to relocate for a job.

A report in the East Bay Times quoted Garnett as saying that the nine-member jury unanimously ruled that TCS “did not discriminate on the base of race or national origin.”

The report cited a Tata representative as saying that they have always believed the claims in the case were baseless and are gratified that the jury agreed.

The verdict came as the Trump administration is doubling down on immigration and its tough stance is impacting companies from hiring and retaining foreign workers on the H1B work visas, which is the most-sought after among Indian IT professionals.

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