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Why is Infosys facing a 'culture of bias' lawsuit in the US?

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Bengaluru-based Infosys is facing a US lawsuit by a former employee who claims the IT giant discriminated against job seekers based on age, gender, nationality and caregiver status.

Jill Prejean, former vice president of Talent Acquisition at Infosys, said, “We’ve heard from at least a dozen partners that they don’t want to hire additional consultants from India and they want women without children. I was shocked,” he claims. At home, the candidate is no closer to 50.

The lawsuit, filed in September 2021 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, said, “These preferences were open and notorious and seemed like corporate culture.”

On September 30 of this year, the court dismissed Infosys’ motion to dismiss Prejean’s retaliatory dismissal and hostile work environment lawsuits and gave the defendants 21 days to respond. Infosys has not released a media statement on the matter.

What is the content of the lawsuit?

Prejean was hired by Infosys in 2018 at the age of 59 with the task of recruiting executives at the partner and vice president level for the company’s billion dollar consulting division.

After joining the company, Pregene said he was “shocked by the prevalence of an illegal and discriminatory animus culture among partner-level executives based on age, gender, and caregiver status.”

She told her company partners about the bias and discriminatory hiring process and insisted she would not act on them. .

In December 2018, Mark Livingston joined Infosys as Senior Vice President, becoming Prejean’s day-to-day supervisor. He told her not to recruit women who “have children at home” or candidates who are “approaching or over 50,” the lawsuit says.

After she objected to his discriminatory order and repeatedly said it was illegal, Prejean claimed Livingston tried to bully her, she was dismissed and her position violated the law. He also said that it would be outsourced to a vendor with no problems.

The lawsuit alleges that in the months that followed, Kurtz, Albright and Livingston “engaged in a coordinated campaign of harassment, intimidation and intimidation against plaintiffs and her work” because she refused to comply with their demands, the lawsuit claims. .

what happened after that?

In early 2019, Prejean recommended hiring a female candidate named Ms. Thakur, whom interviewers thought would be suitable for the job, according to the complaint.

However, Livingston is said to have sought the opinion of male executives Thakur once oversaw. He is said to have been “unliked” by his executives because Thakur once corrected him.

As a result, Livingston refused to hire her as an officer because he did not want someone who was “unliked on the team.”

Prejean filed a formal complaint with HR for sex discrimination against female candidates. Shortly thereafter, she was removed from the position.

Prejean said she was unfairly dismissed not because of her performance, but because she did not want to discriminate against women candidates or candidates over the age of 50, and complained of Livingston’s discriminatory treatment of Thakur. He claimed it was because he filed a complaint.

Is this lawsuit unusual?

In 2021, Infosys faced a similar lawsuit. Four of her women, who worked at her Infosys office in the United States, have previously filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that the tech giant routinely discriminates against women and non-Indian employees. claimed to be.

Company executives reportedly said men were given more lucrative jobs because they “have families to support” while women “have husbands to support.”

In another lawsuit, IT company Wipro was hit with an employment discrimination lawsuit by five former employees in the US in 2020. The lawsuit alleged that Wipro operates under a general policy of discriminating against people not from South Asia or India in hiring, promotion, firing and employment decisions.

Also in 2020, in the first US lawsuit over alleged casteism in the workplace, California regulators claimed Dalit employees faced caste-based discrimination by upper-caste bosses. , sued technology company Cisco.