IT Services Contractor Serve Up Discrimination at Harley Davidson, DC Government

Disproportionate WorkforceAccording to the lawsuit, "Infosys is an Indian company that has roughly 15,000 employees in the United States. While roughly 1-2% of the U.S. population is of South Asian descent, roughly 90% of Infosys’s U.S. workforce is of South Asian descent (primarily Indian)."

"This disproportionate workforce is a result of Infosys’s intentional employment discrimination against individuals who are not South Asian, including discrimination in the hiring, promotion, compensation, and termination of individuals."

Harley Davidson and the DC Government--symbolizing polar opposites of the American ethos--have been venue to unprecedented discrimination and hostility against American technical professionals under the direction of their contractor, Infosys, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on Sept. 27, 2012.  This is an amended complaint of the original, filed earlier this year.

Computerworld has an explanation of "how H-1B-fueled discrimination works" using this court case.   Both organizations hired Infosys, a global IT services firms, to provide computing support operations in 2012.  Three technical professionals,  allege that Infosys was responsible for “pervasive, ongoing national origin and race discrimination” at Harley’s offices in Tomahawk, Wisconsin and in their Washington D.C. office housing the work for the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange.

The lawsuit further alleges that a fourth worker, a salesperson, was forced to train his foreign replacement, denied bonuses, and fired after finalizing a major contract with Toyota.

Lawsuit Challenges "Training Your Foreign Replacement"--Even for Subcontractors
For the first time, the despicable practice of being forced to train one's foreign replacement is being challenged, not just for direct employees but also subcontractors.

Greg Handloser was a senior sales manager at Infosys from 2004 to 2012, first in the U.S. Automotive Unit and then promoted into the Manufacturing Business Unit.  Starting in October 2012, Infosys management required that Mr. Handloser be shadowed by a colleague of Indian national origin "while he performed due diligence activities onsite with Toyota," the lawsuit alleges. Once the Toyota contract was finalized, Mr. Handloser was fired and his foreign replacement became Infosys's sole point of contact with Toyota. 

The lawsuit further alleges that, "In or around 2011, Infosys began a concerted effort in the U.S. to purge non-South Asian employees in favor of South Asians, including in the sales force and other areas that had comparatively large numbers of non-South Asian employees."

Kelly Parker, an employee of a subcontractor to Infosys, alleges that during her last several weeks of employment, Infosys forced Ms. Parker to train an Indian worker who later took over her position on the IT Help Desk. According to the lawsuit, "Infosys's mangers actively supervised, direct and controlled Ms. Parker's employment."  Ms. Parker worked at Harley Davidson starting in February, 2012, first as an employee of Enterforce, Inc., a staffing agency hired by Harley Davidson and then as an employee of SoftHQ Inc.,another staffing agency and subcontractor to Infosys.  She was fired in 2013.

Ms. Parker's firing was part of Harley Davidson's firing of 125 IT workers in 2012, with most of these Americans being replaced by South Asians employed by Infosys.

Lawsuit Alleges Hostile Work Environment on the DC Affordable Care Web Site
According to the complaint, Lalya Bolten, a naturalized U.S. citizen, interviewed for DC Health Benefit Exchange job openings, "along with approximately 45 non-South Asian workers. Infosys's South Asian workers were conducting the interviews, and only two non-South Asian workers who interviewed were hired" to work on the Exchange site. Ms.Bolten was offered a "Test Analyst" job, a position of considerably lesser pay and responsibility than the "Test Lead Analyst" she interviewed for.

It further alleges that "the vast majority of Ms. Bolten’s co-workers were visa workers from India. Of the approximately 100 Infosys and Infosys Public Services workers on the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange project, only three were American, including Ms. Bolten."

Ms. Bolten was passed over for positions commensurate with her skills, despite having to guide and advise her "Test Lead", an H1-b visa holder from India whom possessed only one-third the experience she had. According to the complaint, "The majority of Ms. Bolten’s Indian co-workers had little experience and they often relied on her to help them complete their work.  Ms. Bolten’s co-workers also lacked knowledge of basic facts that were necessary to perform the task for which Infosys was hired, including for example, the relevance of an individual’s social security number. Ms. Bolten had to explain these basic details to her co-workers." 

When work-related discussions occurred in the Hindi language, "Ms. Bolten complained to John Santucchi, a non-South Asian supervisor, thereby preventing her from participating fully in the project," according to the complaint.  It further alleges that "After she spoke with her supervisor, Ms. Bolten’s co-workers created a hostile work environment and harassed her. Ms. Bolten’s working environment became increasingly uncomfortable, with frequent taunts and rude remarks from her Indian co-workers and supervisors."  Ms. Bolten's supervisor, an Indian national,  "required her to arrive at work by 8:30 a.m., earlier than any of her co-workers, despite assigning her little to no work," according to the lawsuit.

Lawsuit Argues Infosys Practices Constitute a Violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. According to a 2011 press release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “Deliberate discrimination against job seekers based on their race, sex, age, national origin or other prohibited basis remains a major national problem, a battery of experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a Commission meeting today.”[1]

“Intentional discrimination in hiring remains a significant problem,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien.  “The EEOC will continue to address this problem through enhanced education and outreach and through vigorous enforcement of the law.”  Unfortunately, discriminatory hiring practices…and targeted recruitment procedures aimed at only attracting certain racial or national origin group member applicants, continue to exist,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez.



[1] Disparate Treatment in Hiring Remains Major Problem, Experts Tell EEOC, retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/6-22-11a.cfm


Showing 8 reactions

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  • commented 2014-07-18 16:40:01 -0500
    May be it’s time to get out the pitchforks and light the torches…
  • commented 2014-07-13 18:40:23 -0500
    No surprise here, I’ve seen this sort of thing myself.
  • commented 2014-07-10 09:50:32 -0500
    Why am I not surprised?
  • commented 2014-07-09 19:08:27 -0500
    I was going to my local HD Store to buy one this weekend, but now I will have to call my sale rep at HRHD in Yorktown, Va. to cancel out for a Victory, or an Indian. I like my sales Rep, but I am an American first, and if HD is doing this BS, we ALL need to Boycott, and stick together.
  • commented 2014-07-07 05:29:38 -0500
    We got to be united and kick out these ‘appear to be skilled workers’, otherwise US will be over!
  • commented 2014-06-11 18:36:48 -0500
    I hope they win the lawsuit and inspire more to go after these corrupt companies.
  • commented 2014-03-20 15:45:40 -0500
    Once a Computer Science graduate from Upenn told me about his job interview: every interview he goes, only Indian see him and they reject him every single time
  • commented 2014-03-20 15:42:01 -0500
    http://www.activehealth.com/contact-us

    part of Aetna,
    ActiveHealth Management
    1333 Broadway
    New York, NY 10018
    Phone: 212.651.8200

    this company sponsor Indian IT people. I know their work can be perfectly done bu US college grads. They have Indian IT manager, these people push to hire Indian. Is this racial preference ? what should be done about it ?
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