Oakland, CA, December 27, 2017 – Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued an order today permitting to be brought to trial on a class-wide basis claims brought by a group of former employees of Tata Consultancy Services who allege that they were discriminatorily benched and fired because of Tata’s alleged preference for Indians and other South Asians.
Tata is an India-based company which provides information technology consulting and outsourcing services to clients in the United States and abroad. Plaintiffs are former employees who allege that Tata discriminatorily placed and kept them in an unallocated or “benched” status and fired them because of their race or national origin because it favors Indians and South Asians.
In the order, Judge Gonzales Rogers: denied Tata’s motion for summary judgment as to plaintiff Brian Buchanan; granted Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification of a terminations class; denied class certification of a hiring class; denied Tata’s motion to exclude the expert opinion of plaintiff’s expert Dr. David Neumark; granted plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend in part; and appointed Kotchen & Low LLP as class counsel.
In opposing summary judgment, plaintiffs’ expert pointed to statistics showing that around three-fourths of Tata’s workforce was South Asian compared to 12.5% of workers in the IT industry. Dr. Neumark also presented evidence that Tata had involuntarily terminated 10.6% of its non-South Asian workers during the class period compared to less than 1% of its South Asian workers, and that the likelihood of such a skewed result occurring by chance is less than 1 in 1 billion.
Plaintiffs also relied on documentary evidence of discrimination, including a “leadership directive to utilize every visa to the maximum extent,” and documents reflecting a preference for Indian or “Desi” local hires, such as documents stating: “We need only Indians for this,” and “I need more candidates for this but they must be Desi.”
In denying summary judgment, the court found that plaintiffs offered “copious documentary evidence . . . in addition to the statistical evidence,” thereby “easily satisf[ying] their burden to make a prima facie showing” of discrimination.
The certified class consists of approximately 1000 non-South Asian former Tata employees who were placed in an unallocated status (or “benched”) and fired between April 14, 2011 and December 27, 2017.
The case is Buchanan v. Tata Consultancy Services, Ltd., No. 4:15-1696-YGR (N.D. Cal.).
Related Bloomberg article.