According to a joint statement published the Washington Post, 30 women Dalit engineers alleged that they have been facing caste discrimination. These women wrote a letter to American companies, urging them to adopt caste as a protected category, in order to get rid of caste-based discrimination in the teach industry of United States. They have also praised John Doe from Cisco for raising a voice against the caste hierarchy. “We thank John Doe from Cisco for speaking out because his experience echoes our own. As Dalit women, we have already seen both casteism and sexism during our tech education in India. Many of us have the burden of proving ourselves to our male peers, while also facing multiple casteist assumptions that we are not competent developers,” reads the statement. They have also called out their managers and termed working with them as “living hell.” Their letter also points out that the managers have been cracking jokes about Dalit reservation in India and about Muslim women. “Hindu nationalist chauvinism has also been on the rise, following the election of India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the letter notes.
It was found out that caste discrimination was a fairly common thing in Silicon Valley companies. This in turn led to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filing a case against Cisco. A new report however, reveals that it is Cisco is not the only company where employees have alleged facing caste discrimination.
The Statement also said, “We are always having to dodge difficult caste locator questions about where we are from, what religion we practice, and whom we have married — questions designed to place us into the caste hierarchy against our will. We also have had to weather demeaning insults to our background and accusations that we have achieved our jobs solely due to affirmative action.”
However, Cisco in a statement said, “Cisco is committed to an inclusive workplace for all. We have robust processes to report and investigate concerns raised by employees which were followed in this case dating back to 2016, and have determined we were fully in compliance with all laws as well as our own policies. Cisco will vigorously defend itself against the allegations made in this complaint.”
According to a report by the Washington Post, Benjamin Kalia, one of the engineers working in Silicon Valley told that in nearly 100 job interviews in his career he got the job only once when there was an Indian executive in the group interviewing him. The report also highlights that Dalit engineers are often asked questions aimed at finding their caste when they sit for interviews with Indian executives.