Santa Clara, CA: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is suing the California Department of Civil Rights (CDCR) in the United States District Court for violating the civil rights of Hindu Americans residing in the state.
In its Federal court filing on September 22, HAF asserted that the state of California acted unconstitutionally in its case alleging caste discrimination occurring at Cisco Systems, by seeking to define what Hindus believe and decide how they practice their religion, in violation of the First Amendment.
HAF’s lawsuit states that the Department of Civil Rights – formerly known as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, wrongly asserts “that a caste system and caste-based discrimination are integral parts of Hindu teaching and practices by declaring the caste system to be a ‘strict Hindu social and religious hierarchy,’ which requires discrimination by “social custom and legal mandate.”
“Throughout its two decades of existence, HAF has consistently maintained that caste discrimination is wrong and that any discrimination is neither ‘core’ nor legitimate parts of Hindu religious beliefs, teachings, or practices, nor condoned,” said Samir Kalra, HAF’s Managing Director. “Thus the state of California’s assertion is as erroneous in fact as it is unconstitutional in attempt.”
If HAF prevails in its claim, HAF maintains that the Department of Civil Rights would have to revise its filing in the Cisco case as that suit is based on the false premise that Hindu belief and practice include a caste system.