California law firm takes stand against casteism in the workplace

by Rushing McCarl Feb. 23, 2021

Today, law firm Rushing McCarl filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Ambedkar International Center in a landmark case targeting caste discrimination in California workplaces.

The case, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Cisco Systems, Inc., is a lawsuit by the State of California alleging that Cisco Systems, a major tech-industry employer, discriminated against an Indian employee because the employee was a Dalit — a member of India’s downtrodden “untouchable” caste. The lawsuit has received international attention in the United States, India, and elsewhere.

Although India outlawed caste discrimination and has taken aggressive steps to provide opportunities to Dalits through affirmative action programs, caste discrimination remains a fact of life in India and in the Indian diaspora — including in Silicon Valley.

Rushing McCarl’s brief supports California’s lawsuit and contends that caste discrimination violates California and federal civil rights laws.

“Casteism is a hidden menace in California’s tech economy,” John Rushing said. Rushing McCarl aims to change that by making clear that existing employment laws prohibit caste discrimination. No worker should face oppression because of his or her caste.