Happiest Minds has denied allegations by a former employee where the digital IT services company has been accused of discrimination against non-Indians and giving preference to people from South Asia in hiring and jobs. As per a PTI report, American national Tami Sulzberg filed a lawsuit alleging that at least 90% of the US workforce of San Jose-based Happiest Minds, whose headquarters is in Bangalore, are South Asians, primarily from India.
“Happiest Minds, the mindful IT company is an equal opportunity employer and is compliant with all US federal and state laws. The company is a law abiding corporate entity and denies any allegations of wrong doing as claimed in the US lawsuit filed by a former employee," Happiest Minds said in a statement. “The company is working with its attorneys and would not like to offer a comment. In the eventuality of this case going to trial, Happiest Minds is convinced that it will establish the fairness and veracity of its people practices to the satisfaction of the concerned authorities."
According to Sulzberg, Happiest Minds prefers to hire and employ South Asians and Indians, and it effectuates this preference in three ways. First, she said, the company engages in a practice of securing H-1B visas (and other visas) for South Asian and Indian workers located overseas, who will then be used to staff US positions.
As per the PTI report, the lawsuit alleged that non-South Asian and non-Indian individuals are often displaced from their current positions in favour of South Asian and Indian visa-ready individuals. For instance, Sulzberg was replaced in her Director of Business Development position (a sales role) by an L-1 visa holder, Chandan Das, who travelled from India to the US for work, the lawsuit says.
According to the lawsuit, Happiest Minds gives preference to South Asian and Indian applicants located in the US over non-South Asian and non-Indian applicants. As a result, Happiest Minds hires a disproportionately high percentage of South Asians and Indians within the United States that far exceeds the proportion of those individuals in the relevant labour market.
The lawsuit seeks an order from the court, asking Happiest Minds to adopt a non-discriminatory method for hiring, firing and other employment-related decisions. It also seeks unspecified damages from the IT company.
The company was founded by Ashok Soota in 2011 after he quit Mindtree over alleged differences of ideas with the other co-founders. It competes with other mid-sized IT services players in India but with a laser sharp focus on digital business services.