US IT worker files hiring lawsuit against Infosys

The lawsuit alleges that the Indian outsourcing firm discriminates against US workers

A Wisconsin IT professional has filed a lawsuit against Indian outsourcing firm Infosys alleging that the company discriminates against U.S. job applicants in favor of South Asians for jobs in the U.S.

Brenda Koehler, an IT worker with 17 years of experience, alleges that Infosys ignored her qualifications and eventually hired a Bangladeshi worker to staff a position she was qualified for. Koehler and her lawyers are asking the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to allow a class-action lawsuit against Infosys, with "thousands" of potential plaintiffs in the case, according to the lawsuit, filed Thursday.

"Infosys has engaged in a systemic pattern and practice of discriminating against individuals who are not of South Asian descent in hiring," Koehler's lawyers wrote in court documents.

A representative of Infosys didn't immediately respond to a request for a comment on the lawsuit.

Koehler, a VMware-certified professional network engineer with a master's degree in information systems, was denied a lead VMware/Windows administrator position at Infosys, the lawsuit alleges.

"Ms. Koehler's experience is not unique," Donna Conroy, director of Bright Future Jobs, a group advocating for U.S. tech workers, said in an email. "High-tech companies claim they can't find Americans to fill U.S jobs, when, in fact, they are rejecting talented Americans -- as this lawsuit reveals."

The lawsuit, citing comments from former Infosys employees, alleges that more than 90 percent of the company's 15,000 U.S. employees are foreign workers, with most of them from South Asia. The company is using H-1B visas to hire foreign workers "to perform jobs for which there are qualified American workers available," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit alleges that Infosys' hiring practices violate the Civil Right Act of 1964. Koehler's lawyers want the court to issue a permanent injunction against the alleged discriminatory hiring practices at Infosys. They also want the court to order the company to adopt a "valid" method for hiring workers in the U.S.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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Tags business issuesU.S. District Court for the Eastern District of WisconsinBright Future JobsinfosysDonna ConroyCivil lawsuitslegalBrenda Koehler

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