American Ambedkarite organizations condemn caste discrimination at Cisco

The coalition of American Ambedkarite Organizations urged private corporations and publicly funded organizations to fully embrace an anti-caste framework in their work ethic.
Cisco logo at San Jose headquarters
Cisco logo at San Jose headquarters

Two days after the state of California sued Cisco for alleged caste discrimination against a Dalit Indian American employee, the coalition of American Ambedkarite Organizations has expressed its solidarity with the employee.

“We, the undersigned coalition of anti-caste organizations of North America wish to express our support and solidarity with the victim of caste-based discrimination at Cisco company,” the coalition said in a statement.

On June 30, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in California in the US filed a federal lawsuit against technology major Cisco and two former managers alleging that these managers discriminated against the engineer because he is a Dalit.

According to the lawsuit, former Cisco engineering managers Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella discriminated against and harassed the employee (who has not been named) to accept a caste hierarchy within the workplace where he held the lowest status within a team of higher-caste colleagues. 

He allegedly received less pay, fewer opportunities, and “other inferior terms and conditions of employment because of his religion, ancestry, national origin/ethnicity, and race/colour.”

A Reuters report said that when the employee took this up with the HR, he was singled out, which the coalition has said is seriously alarming and concerns the organisations collectively, which have been active in the anti-caste lobbying for over two decades in America.

“As the subcontinental population has increased exponentially over the last couple of decades, and that too in strategic positions in the American corporate bastion, our worst fears are coming true where caste plays a most decisive role in every walk of life as it is an indelible mark in the genetics of the migrants from subcontinent,” the letter stated.

It further added it is about time that caste becomes a legislative matter and has appealed to the United States government to take necessary measures to penalize caste-based discrimination.

“We demand the private corporations and publicly funded organizations to fully embrace an anti-caste framework in their work ethic. Caste centric policy will not only help the Indian American citizens but also to its global offices wherever caste has transported with South Asian employees,” it added.

Let us commit to outlawing a practice so old and traumatic that it needs to be dusted off immediately

The coalition includes Ambedkar International Centre (AIC), Ambedkar International Mission (AIM), Ambedkarites International Mission Society of Canada, Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA), Ambedkar Buddhist Association of Texas (ABAT), Boston Study Group (BSG) and Chetna Association of Canada.

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