California appeals no-arbitration court rule in Cisco caste bias lawsuit According to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc is seen during the GSMA’s 2022 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, ​​Spain February 28, 2022. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

By Paresh Dave

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) -Cisco Systems Inc on Friday lost a court case to move to private arbitration a case over allegations of class discrimination at offices in Silicon Valley, where the managers are of Indian descent. accused of favoring an employee from India.

The network equipment and business software company has denied the allegations. It argued with a California appeals court that the state’s Department of Civil Rights, which brought the case on behalf of a worker identified under the pseudonym John Doe, should be subject to an employment arbitration agreement filed by Doe signed.

“As an independent party, the Department cannot be forced to arbitrate under an agreement it has not yet signed,” the appeals panel wrote.

In a separate order on Friday, it asked a lower court judge to review a ruling that could require the state to identify Doe. The lower court said the law prevented them from looking into whether Doe’s family members in India could be harmed by naming him.

The higher court wrote that “harming family members anywhere is a legitimate consideration in determining whether a party should be allowed to remain anonymous.”

Cisco (NASDAQ:) and the state agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The archaic socio-religious conception of caste has led to centuries of oppression of some families born into the lowest quintile in India. California has alleged that such biases have affected the US tech industry, where Indians are the largest group of immigrant workers.

The state sued Cisco in 2020 after Doe complained to them about the company’s human resources officers not finding the track record they deserved over concerns that two more senior managers had turned him down. me and denigrate him.

The lawsuit has provoked lobbying at US companies, universities and other organizations calling for more guidance and training regarding the potential for caste prejudice.

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