Apple loses an early discrimination lawsuit filed by an Indian engineer

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Apple lost an early round in a discrimination lawsuit filed in the United States by a female engineer from India who said her two managers, one from her country and the other from Pakistan, treated her as they would in their own countries: as a subordinate.

The woman’s case in a state court in California is the latest to allege workplace bias in Silicon Valley, which focuses on the cultural prejudices of some South Asian technicians. Cisco Systems Inc. is suing the California Civil Rights Agency, alleging bias against a member of India’s so-called lower castes known as Dalit.

Anita Nariani Schulze is part of the Sindhi minority – she is a Hindu, originally from the Sindh region of present-day Pakistan. Her complaint alleges that her senior and direct managers, both men, consistently excluded her from meetings while inviting male colleagues, criticizing her, leading her work and depriving her of bonuses, despite the positive evaluations of the results and the significant team contribution.

Schulze argues that the animus of managers reflects sexism, racism, religious affiliation and discrimination based on national origin. Cindy’s Indian nationality is “known for its technical acumen” and gender equality, she said, which “exacerbated discriminatory treatment of managers.”

In a preliminary ruling Wednesday, Santa Clara County High Court judge dismissed Sunil R. Kulkarni On Apple request to dispose of the suit. Although she did not rule on the merits of the case, Kulkarni said Schulze had adequately backed up her legal claims. Apple claims that its claims are not specific enough and are based on stereotypes.

But the judge rejected Schulze’s request to represent a class of women Apple employees who have suffered discrimination in the workplace over the past four years. He agreed with Apple that it did not show a pattern of discrimination that could be applied to a wider group.

It was not clear from the court’s report whether the judge would hold a hearing on Thursday before issuing a final decision.

Apple did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

IN Cisco case, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing claims that two Indian employees at the San Jose-based company discriminated against a Dalit colleague on the basis of caste.

Cisco denied the allegations, insisting it had “zero tolerance for discrimination.” He also said the lawsuit should be dismissed because the caste is not a protected category under U.S. civil rights law.

“With the help of Sarita Rai.”

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

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