The constitution of the United States does not recognise discrimination based on caste. It bars discrimination based on race, religion, gender, ethnic or national origin and even sexual orientation, but not on the basis of caste. Why so? Because caste as a category was unknown to the founders of the American republic. That is now to be changed thanks to a landmark case last week.
The California State Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a lawsuit against a Silicon Valley giant, Cisco Corporation. It has charged the company with caste-based discrimination. Cisco and others in Silicon Valley employ thousands of engineers and professionals from India. The department has said that Cisco violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and also California’s own Fair Employment Act. The lawsuit also names two engineer managers who used to work at Cisco, and who discriminated against a fellow employee at Cisco, who is a Dalit. The two defendants are Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella. As per the charges, they being upper caste, denied the Dalit employee his promotion, and gave him lesser pay and opportunities. They revealed his ‘Dalit’ caste to their co-workers at Cisco and also that he had got admission […]
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