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Infosys faces class action suit over 'hiring bias'

A US citizen, who was rejected by the Indian software company, accuses Infosys of hiring bias towards South Asians.

twitter-logo Goutam Das        Last Updated: August 6, 2013  | 11:43 IST

Infosys's visa troubles in the United States just got worse. An American citizen has accused the Indian IT company of discrimination against Americans in its hiring practices and has filed a class action complaint against the company.

Brenda Koehler, in a complaint filed by her attorney on August 1 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, claims her job application with the company was rejected on flimsy grounds and Infosys, instead, employed a Bangladeshi national for the position she had applied for.

The lawsuit states that Infosys' hiring policies and conduct are in violation of Title VII of the United States's Civil Rights Act.

"Infosys has engaged in systematic, company-wide discrimination against individuals based upon their national origin. Specifically, Infosys has discriminated against individuals who are not of South Asian descent," the lawsuit states. "The company employs more than 15,000 individuals in the United States and approximately 90 per cent of these employees are of South Asian descent, including individuals of Indian, Nepalese, and Bangladeshi descent. Infosys has reached this grossly disproportionate workforce by directly discriminating against individuals who are not of South Asian origin."

The lawsuit mentions that Koehler, an IT professional since 1996, applied for a position of "Lead VMware/Windows Administrator" with Infosys in April 2012. However, after a 45-minute interview, an Infosys representative stated that she had no experience in 'Active Directory'.

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"While the job posting indicated that VMware would be the primary role for the position, Infosys's representatives spent a considerable amount of time asking about other subjects, including DNS and Active Directory. Koehler has experience in those areas and explained to Infosys's representative that she had considerable experience, including explaining the particular types of work she had performed," the lawsuit states.

Infosys denied any wrongdoing.

"Infosys is an equal opportunity employer. We categorically deny Ms. Koehler's claims. We look forward to addressing this matter in court, not in public venues where facts can become mixed with rumor, opinion and speculation. It is important to understand that no proof of class action suitability has been presented and no court has ruled that the case is appropriate for class action treatment," the company said in a statement.  

In class action lawsuits, a group of people join hands to fight a large corporation for a common cause.

Last year, a federal court in the United States dismissed a lawsuit against the company brought about by one of its American employees, Jay Palmer , who claimed that Infosys committed visa fraud. The company, however, is currently facing an ongoing fedral probe over its use of work visas.

In addition, the United States Department of Homeland Security, which was reviewing the company's employer eligibility verifications, has found errors in a "significant percentage" of Form I-9 reviewed, the company declared in its annual report. Fines and penalties can be imposed on the company.

Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorisation of individuals hired for employment in the United States.

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