A US jury has ruled in favour of Tata Consultancy Services, clearing the company of discriminating against local Americans, a ruling that could help other Indian IT companies facing similar lawsuits. The first discrimination suit against an Indian IT player to reach a jury, the case would have had knock-on effects on the sector in case of an adverse result. The nine-member jury after a day of deliberations, came to a unanimous decision that TCS did not have a “pattern or practice” of discriminating against non-South Asian workers as a result of their race or national origin.
Kotchen & Low, the law firm that sued TCS, argued that the Indian company fired 78 pr cent of its local workers benched between 2011 and 2014, while only 22 per cent of benched South Asians were fired, even though they constituted half the company's workforce in the country. In response, TCS lawyers pointed out the company's increased local hiring and the increment of its retention rate of employees. TCS is just on of the dozen of Indian IT companies that is fighting against Kotchen & Low. The American law firm has also sued Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, HCL Technologies and Tech Mahindra.
In its argument showed its job requirements were spread across the country and that non-South Asians who were fired were unwilling to relocate to open roles in other parts of the US. Girish Pai, analyst with brokerage Nirmal Bang said, “TCS' reason was that locals were not necessarily mobile, which seemed genuine. I do not see why this would not hold true in other cases, if the companies followed the same reasoning and their actions were reasonable.” Analysts said the “mobility” requirement appeared to find favour with the jury, and could be used by other IT companies to fight their cases.
TCS' HR head Ajoy Mukherjee told employees the jury verdict vindicated TCS against discrimination claims. “Skilled American workers are critical to the success of the US business and to the nation's economic success and we will continue to invest heavily in the country's workforce, academic alliances and our extensive youth STEM education initiatives.”