Civil legal rights advocates are calling on a U.S. company to identify that caste discrimination is unlawful beneath current federal legislation, an situation increasing much more notable as tech companies are strike with litigation by South Asian personnel alleging bias based mostly on social status.
A dozen groups, like the Worldwide Commission on Dalit Rights, pressed the U.S. Equal Work Option Fee to admit that the observe of discriminating towards historically oppressed South Asian groups is “an urgent present-day U.S. civil legal rights and social justice difficulty,” in accordance to a memo despatched to the company on Monday and obtained by Bloomberg Legislation.
Caste prejudices parallel race bias in the U.S. because both “are social constructs built to uphold methods of domination, exclusion, injustice, inequality, and discrimination,” the memo suggests. Advocates for the Dalit inhabitants, or the cheapest caste in the hierarchical social system, say the mistreatment is much more prevalent in workplaces with massive populations of South Asian employees, these types of as in the engineering sector.
Read through much more: Massive Tech Is Importing India’s Caste Legacy to Silicon Valley
The EEOC enforces federal place of work anti-discrimination rules, like Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits bias based on race, nationwide origin, and other shielded statuses. The groups say all those provisions encompass caste discrimination, as properly. But very handful of caste bias allegations have produced their way as a result of courts to exam whether Title VII or point out guidelines protect in opposition to that sort of discrimination.
“The EEOC’s recognition of the intertwined character of caste and race is an urgent and critical action towards advertising human dignity, and making sure justice, equality and nondiscrimination in the place of work,” the memo states.
The EEOC does not have a formal “policy position” on how Title VII may well implement to caste discrimination, reported Joseph Olivares, an EEOC spokesman, right before obtaining the memo.
Caste discrimination happens within South Asian communities, with workers at the bottom of the hierarchy experiencing harassment, bullying, and exclusion “in private, public and sites of operate,” the memo states.
“Every day, on a covert basis, lots of Dalit Us residents facial area discrimination that can be tackled by the American authorized procedure,” the groups reported. “All People need to be handled with dignity and regard at work and in all other facets of their lives regardless of caste or race, descent and national origin or a further guarded classification.”
American businesses, and their human sources departments, are becoming pressured to grapple with these prejudices as they are imported with staff from other cultures.
In the Cisco case, for example, an unnamed Dalit personnel discovered only as John Doe alleged he faced a hostile operate atmosphere, and received fewer pay back and fewer opportunities.
“We have zero tolerance for discrimination and take all complaints of unfair procedure extremely significantly. In this scenario, we totally and completely investigated the employee’s worries and identified that he was taken care of reasonably, really compensated, and afforded alternatives to get the job done on coveted assignments,” Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Blum claimed in an e-mail Monday. “If we experienced found any discrimination or retaliation, we would have remediated it.”
Microsoft declined to remark and Apple didn’t answer to a request for comment.
Not all teams concur that caste discrimination is common in the U.S.
“Caste has no legal, social, or cultural definition in the United States, and is not an observable or objectively determinable trait or attribute,” claimed the Hindu American Basis, a religious advocacy team, in the group’s movement to intervene in the Cisco circumstance. The organization alleges the California work agency’s lawsuit violates the constitutional rights of Hindu Americans.