Five former American employees sue Wipro over discrimination

New York: Indian IT MNC Wipro is facing a fresh class-action suit initiated by five of its former employees in the United States alleging the company practices discriminatory policies in promotions, hikes, and termination of employment against employees who are not of South Asian or Indian origin.

The suit was filed in March of 2020 in the district court of New Jersey. The plaintiffs have sought ‘injunctive, declaratory, equitable, and monetary relief for Wipro’s systematic pattern and practice of discriminatory employment practices based upon individuals’ race and national origin, reported Trak.

Wipro has over 160,000 workers worldwide, including over 14,000 employees in the United States. Wipro is consistently one of the top five H-1B visa recipients.

According to the suit, the 5 former employees of Wipro, Gregory MacLean, Rick Valles, Ardeshir Pezeshki, James Gibbs and Ronald Hemenway, have alleged ‘discrimination’ against who are not of South Asian and Indian origin. All five former employees are US citizens. While MacLean (a resident of California), Gibbs (Tennessee) and Hemenway (Florida) are of the Caucasian race, Valles from California is from the Hispanic race, while Pezeshki from California is of Iranian origin.

The suit plaintiffs allege that “Wipro operates under a general policy of discrimination in favor of South Asians and against individuals who are not South Asian and not Indian. This general policy of discrimination manifests itself in the same general fashion with respect to Wipro’s hiring, staffing, promotion, and termination decisions”. They have also sought for a jury trial in the case. Because of Wipro’s preference for South Asians and Indians, these individuals are regularly awarded higher appraisal scores, compared to their non-South Asian and non-Indian colleagues. Additionally, some non-South Asian and non-Indian individuals are never given appraisal scores at all,” alleged plaintiffs.

The suit also claims that while only about 12% of the United States’ IT industry (the industry in which Wipro operates) is South Asian, at least 80% (or more) of Wipro’s United States workforce is South Asian (primarily from India).

The class-action lawsuit seeks Wipro to adopt a valid, non-discriminatory method for hiring, promotion, termination, and other employment decisions.

The plaintiffs also alleged that Wipro submits visa petitions for more positions than actually exist in the US. This is allegedly done in order to maximize its chances of securing the highest number of available H-1B visas from the lottery process.

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