In a trial that began Monday, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. is defending itself against claims that it prefers H-1B guest workers from South Asia and Indian expatriates over qualified American workers. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Daniel Kotchen, said the goal of the lawsuit is to force outsourcing companies like Tata to stop violating U.S. anti-discrimination laws. 

Kotchen is representing a class action of about 1,000 former Tata workers – all non-South Asian and mostly U.S. citizens -- who were fired after the company refused to assign them any U.S. clients. The plaintiffs allege Tata instead gave assignments to Indian expatriates and H-1B visa holders from India.

Kotchen told the jury Tata fired 12.6 percent of its non-South Asian workers in the U.S., but less than 1 percent of its South Asian employees. He plans to show statistical evidence demonstrating there is less than a one in a billion chance that race and national origin were not factors in Tata’s termination decisions. 80 percent of Tata’s U.S. workforce is South Asian, while South Asians represent only 12 percent of the U.S. IT workforce.

“Locals are being fired at a strikingly higher rate. That’s who class members are, the victims of that practice,” Kotchen told the jury. “You’ll hear from defendants that Americans are stupid and lazy. The truth is that people are threatened with retaliation if they reported discrimination.”

The trial is expected to conclude by the end of November. Kotchen’s firm also has sued six other outsourcing companies, including Infosys and Wipro, over similar claims of discrimination.

Read more in Bloomberg Law.

Updated: Tue, Nov 20th 2018 @ 5:00pm EST