BENGALURU: AUS law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against HCL Technologies alleging discrimination in its hiring practices, the latest in a series of such legal action against Indian IT companies and just months after it filed another case on behalf of a former HCL employee.
The suit, filed by Kotchen & Low, alleges the company failed to hire Gregory Handloser due to its ‘systematic and continuous discriminatory scheme’, although he was considered for employment with HCL Tech five times between 2017 and 2018.
“On October 19, 2017, Mr Handloser spoke with former colleague Ralph Billington, associate vice-president at HCL, about a sales position with HCL’s UTC Aerospace Systems account, for which he was the hiring manager,” according to the suit, filed in the Northern District of California -San Jose division, last month.
“During the interview, Ralph Billington explained that his team had nine sales people, seven of whom were Indian and South Asian.
Subsequently, Ralph Billington informed Mr Handloser that, although he was interested in hiring Mr Handloser, superiors directed Billington to hire the Indian candidate for the position,” it stated.
According to the lawsuit, while the exact number of class members is unknown to the plaintiff, it is believed to be in the thousands and that class members are readily identifiable from information and records in HCL’s possession. In August, Kotchen & Low had filed a case against HCL Tech on behalf of Reese Voll, a former employee, but the IT major won its motion to compel arbitration in the case in January. In response to an email from ET, HCL Tech said it would “vigorously” defend itself.
“HCL is currently reviewing the lawsuit and will respond appropriately.
The Company takes pride in its employment practices, including the hiring and promotion of a diverse team in its U.S. Subsidiary (HCL, America). It employs 15K people in the US with 63% hired locally in the country,” HCL Tech said.
Kotchen & Low, the law firm representing Handloser, has over the years filed cases against top-tier Indian IT companies, including Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services. “This law firm has a history of going after Indian IT companies. It is easy to file a case in the US, and sometimes it costs more to fight the case than to settle,” a senior executive who looks after legal matters at a top Indian IT firm said.
In November, the law firm lost its case against TCS after a jury ruled that TCS did not discriminate against Americans in its hiring practices.