Sacked staff files class action suit against HCL

A former employee of HCL Technologies has filed a class action suit against the IT major in the US, alleging that the company favoured South Asians, mainly Indians, over Americans.

According to media reports, Texas resident Reese Voll filed the class action complaint in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Voll, who joined HCL in November 2014, has alleged that HCL promoted and chose H-1B visa holders to work on projects, most of whom are Indians.

Daniel Low, the attorney for Kotchen & Low, who has filed the complaint, said, "The key allegations are that HCL discriminates against non-South Asians in hiring, promotions and terminations in four ways," according to a report.

These include using fraudulent H-1B visa applications to secure South Asian workers from overseas and giving preference to those workers ahead of American workers.

"HCL gives substantial preference to South Asian applicants when hiring for local positions in the US... HCL consistently promotes more South Asian employees than their non-South Asian counterparts... HCL benches and terminates non-South Asians at disproportionately higher rates. At least 70 percent of HCL’s employees are South Asian, despite South Asians making up about 12 percent of the US IT industry," Low added.

The complaint notes that HCL submits visa petitions for more positions than actually exist in the US subsidiary of the company. "This is to maximize its chances of securing the highest number of available H-1B visas from the lottery process. In this way, HCL has been able to secure visas for far more individuals than it actually has a present need for," the plaintiff Voll has alleged in the complaint.

Voll was initially part of HCL's contract with PepsiCo, and was put on bench, or given unassigned project status in July 2016. When he told his superiors about this he was told that he would be working on other projects as well and was asked to contact human resources.