San Francisco: Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) was accused in a lawsuit by a white American IT worker of “grossly disproportionate" favouritism toward hiring people of South Asian descent in the US.

Steven Heldt, who said he was terminated by TCS after about 20 months, claims he experienced “substantial anti-American sentiment" within the company, according to his complaint filed Tuesday in San Francisco federal court.

About 95% of TCS’s 14,000 US employees are of South Asian ethnicity or origin, primarily from India, Heldt said. He alleges that while he is “highly skilled" with experience in the field since 1996, he was placed in menial jobs at TCS and was “benched" while South Asian employees continued to do the work he had been assigned.

Benjamin Trounson, a US spokesman for Mumbai-based TCS, said the company is confident Heldt’s claims are baseless and will vigorously defend itself against them.

“TCS is an equal opportunity employer, and as such, bases its employment decisions—including recruiting, hiring, promotions, retention, and discipline—on legitimate non-discriminatory business reasons without regards to race, national origin" and other characteristics protected by law, he said in an e-mail.

Heldt filed the case as a class-action on behalf of other TCS employees. He alleged violations of federal civil rights law for discrimination based on national origin. He’s seeking a court order to make TCS change its hiring practices and unspecified damages. Bloomberg

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