Practices of IT Outsourcing Giant on Trial in California



Tata Consultancy Services is known to runners as the sponsor of the New York City Marathon. To others it is Indian outsourcing giant built on the back of the H-1B temporary visa program. What matters, however, is whether the members of a California jury believe Tata is guilty of discriminating against American and non-Indian workers in favor of South Asians.

That is the question at the heart of a class action trial that kicked off in early November.  One of almost a dozen lawsuits filed by Kotchen & Low, a small Washington, D.C. law firm, the complaint involves claims by former Tata employees who claim they were placed in  unallocated or “benched” status and then fired based on race or national origin.

The suit further alleges that despite have the required skills and experience, Tata demonstrated discriminatory business practices by favoring South Asians (as they are characterized in the lawsuit) and H-1B visa holders from India.

The outcome of this case could have implications that extend beyond the Oakland courtroom. If Tata is found guilty of discrimination, they will be forced to make substantial changes to their business practices and the decision could have a deterrent effect on other companies that exploit the loopholes in the H-1B program. The verdict could also impact efforts by some in Congress to lift the annual caps on the program.

According to the complaint, South Asians make up 1 to 2 percent of the United States population, but approximately 95 percent of Tata’s United States-based workforce is South Asian (primarily from India).

“This grossly disproportionate workforce demonstrates an intentional pattern and practice of discrimination, and cannot be explained by coincidence or business necessity,” the suit asserts.

Tata must explain why, since 2011, the company fired 12.6 percent of its non-South Asian workers in the U.S., compared with less than 1 percent of its South Asian employees. As plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Kotchen noted, the odds race and national origin were not factors in Tata’s business practices is less than a one in a billion.

Tata’s lead attorney, Bernard Robert Given, has tried to convince the jury that his client’s business practices reflect a labor shortage in the IT services industry in the U.S., according to Bloomberg.

Given also claimed the data shows most of the non-South Asians were terminated “because they were difficult to work with, refused to relocate or didn’t want to commute to new job sites,” according to Law360.

Tata Consultancy is now the largest H-1B user. The latest Department of Labor data show that in FY2018, Tata received 20,755 – H-1B specialty occupation certifications. Conversely, Tata recruited just 12,500 U.S. workers over the last five years, according to Bloomberg Law.

 

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Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.

4 Comments

  1. avatar

    The Census Bureau itself has said over half of STEM graduates in this country do not have jobs in their fields. This suit is just typical of the fact that Congress is owned by these big technology companies. Actually we do need a little of that “nationalism” that Trump talks about. Hard to believe that so many of the American workers were fired because they were “difficult to work with” considering that many had decades in the business with spotless records and were blackmailed into training their replacements if they wanted a severance package. As far as being unwilling to relocate, there have been numerous people who have testified before Congress about sending hundreds of resumes and never even getting an interview.

    The witless wonders of Hollywood are blaming Trump’s stand on global warming for the California fires. Of course these hypocrites ignore that the immigration-driven population growth they support has spurred sprawl in marginally buildable areas like hillsides. Same with Texas and flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Huge population growth mainly fueled by immigration caused building in former flood plains that should have been off limits to such housing.

    And what our agenda driven media has failed to report for at least the last six months is the fact that scientists, scientists and not some show business idiots, have been noting the absence of sun spots which means less solar output which means colder weather. This morning Louisiana had it’s earliest snowfall since 1950. Pennsylvania is expecting 8 inches of snow. It is not and never was as simple as CO2 levels.

    • avatar

      What Engineers?

      If the amount of working engineers in America are like canary in the coal mine….the canary is dead. 250,000 techs [engineers and technicals] laid off from Detroit alone in 2007 per BLS data…100,000 rocket scientists [engineers] butcher axed from the empty shell NASA the last couple decades, etc, etc…..no manufacturing engineers in Seattle anymore for Boeing. Even the made in America foreign engineered cars don’t have HQ’s manufacturing engineers at the plants for quality control anymore….they reside in another country, thousands of miles of way….no producibility anymore. No wonder car designs are all mimics of each other with ugly “trunk-less” slug shaped designs we all hate.

      But high tech like Amazon needs engineers? LOL…almost all the Amazon workers are $15/hr warehouse worker [hamburger flipper pay]…the scarce few techs in Seattle AMZ work in the smaller downtown office with no where to park and 2 hour one way commutes to work….sounds like that group will be relocated from clogged parking lot freeways Seattle HQ1 to the new HQ2’s NYC where Besos lives….wonderful.

      The engineer is an extinct dinosaur in America now.

  2. avatar

    Tata [you’d think a company doing biz in the US would rethink that name, wouldn’t you?] and other Indian bodyshops have been making a killing importing Indian “Ninety-Day Wonders” [the average American programmer actually “wonders” whether they’ve even been trained THAT long!] for decades. The low-wage competition has destroyed the livelihoods of millions of Americans. The job market softened immediately after this “temporary” labor program was created in 1991, and it never recovered. Co’s stopped retraining their IT staffs and “outsourced” their system maintenance and development. Ironically, the “Y2K Bug” was the death knell, as the bodyshops grabbed entire software libraries, and ‘freezes’ were imposed on all upgrades until the Indians had made it “Year 2000 Compliant.” I was there; it wasn’t a pretty sight.