The employment attorneys of The Spitz Law Firm are no strangers to national origin discrimination lawsuits, but one cannot help but be slightly surprised to hear that a Caucasian female recently filed a lawsuit against her Company for discriminating against her for being American. Last week, in Wisconsin Federal Court, Brenda Koehler initiated a class action lawsuit against Infosys Limited claiming that she, along with numerous, similarly situated individuals, was unlawfully denied a position by Infosys because she was American. Koehler did not receive a position for which she applied when Infosys decided to hire an individual of Bangladeshi descent, instead.
Infosys is an Indian IT software company with 15,000 employees in the US, and Koehler’s lawsuit alleges that 90% of Infosys’ employees are of South Asian descent. Apart from the purely statistical evidence, Koehler claims that Infosys maintains a pattern and practice of discriminating against Americans, by citing to the allegations of a previous lawsuit against Infosys in which the plaintiff alleged that another Infosys employee wrote on a whiteboard “Americans cost $,” and “No Americans/Christians,” and that, after the plaintiff complained about the comments he received two telephone calls in which the caller said “Why are you doing this, you stupid American, we have been good to you,” and a typed note which read “Just leave your [sic] not wanted here hope your journey brings you death stupid American,” and an e-mail that said, “if you make cause for us to sent [sic] back to India [sic] we will destroy you and your family.” While the previous plaintiff’s case was thrown out of an Alabama Court in 2012, his allegations have resurfaced as a factual background to substantiate the claims contained in Koehler’s class action lawsuit.
Of course, the idea of discriminating against an American in America is a relatively strange concept, but the concept of “reverse discrimination” is not new. Neither, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 no Ohio’s R.C. § 4112.99 discuss a particular nation origin, race, gender or religion. As such, a black manager can discriminate by refusing to hire white employees. Companies can face gender discrimination claims by men based on the preference to hire female workers. Should national origin discrimination be any different? I say, no. These employment laws were written with the clear purpose of being blind to the characteristics of the person in the protected class. Under these laws, the Courts should simply ask – did the employer make hiring decisions based on gender, race, religion, or even national origin? If so, the law has been violated and nothing else should be considered – even if the applicant was rejected solely because she her national origin was American.
Perhaps the most intriguing question is: what even constitutes being an individual of American descent? Koehler’s lawsuit alleges that Infosys preferred to hire foreign individuals through the visa process rather than qualified American individuals, so could an Indian American, Infosys applicant participate in the class alleged in her complaint? These questions and more will undoubtedly be raised during the pendency of Koehler’s lawsuit, and the employment attorneys of The Spitz Law Firm will continue to follow its developments.
If you feel that your employer is discriminating against you based on your national origin (Mexican, Porto Rican, Asian or even American), you may have a legal claim. To find out if you have a legal claim for national origin discrimination, your best option is to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with a religious discrimination attorney, who will be able to tell you what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them.
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