Thursday, July 9, 2020

"The Cisco Case Could Expose Rampant Prejudice Against Dalits in Silicon Valley"

The Wire:
San Francisco: Over 20 years ago, a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay figured that a classmate was a Dalit. The discovery was made when the student didn’t see the boy’s name on the general merit list, and so figured that he had been admitted to the prestigious institution via reservations, India’s affirmative action programme.

Decades later, when both men made it to the Silicon Valley headquarters of the tech multinational Cisco, the “upper” caste staffer carried the knowledge of the other man’s “lower” caste with him and even passed on the information to colleagues at work. Last week, . . . the man who “outed” the other man’s caste, found himself at the centre of a civil rights lawsuit filed by the California government, which accused [the man and his colleague] and Cisco itself of unlawful employment practices.


While caste discrimination among Indians in US workplaces is not new, tech companies largely ignored the practise, primarily because, in strictly legal terms, it is not unlawful.