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Infosys in soup over gender discrimination

In her complaint, Prejaen alleged that the partners allegedly expressed reluctance to hire additional consultants of Indian origin, women with children at home and candidates over 50 years of age.

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Bengaluru: Infosys Technologies is again in a legal soup after an ex employee levelled allegations of discrimination against the company while hiring in the US.

She also alleged that the company retaliated when she highlighted its discriminatory actions.

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The suit was filed by Infosys VP (Talent Acquisition) Jill Prejean in the US District Court Southern District of New York against Infosys, Infosys Senior VP and Head (Consulting) Mark Livingston and former partners Dan Albright and Jerry Kurtz.

In her complaint, Prejaen alleged that the partners allegedly expressed reluctance to hire additional consultants of Indian origin, women with children at home and candidates over 50 years of age.

She told the partners that these criteria were illegal, and most agreed not to use the criteria in the future.

Prejean said she intimated Livingston about it but he not only expressed anger but also “threatened” to remove her from her position if she did not capitulate.

She also alleged that she continued to endure harassment, hostility, and pressure from Livingston, Kurtz, and Albright during the subsequent months as part of a pressure campaign to persuade her to discriminate when recruiting Infosys employees.

After hearing the plea, the judge rejected the motion of Infosys to dismiss the claims of Prejean and asked the defendants to file their answer within 21 days from the date of this opinion and order.

Infosys has not yet issued any statement in this regard.

Prejean was hired in 2018, then 59 years old.

‘Toxic culture’

Condemning illegal and discriminatory hiring tactic adopted by Infosys, the Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) on Friday called it a toxic culture and urged the IT companies to immediately stop it.

“We strongly condemn the illegal and discriminatory hiring tactics adopted by Infosys. Discrimination against mother’s who want to work with IT companies is not limited to Infosys. This type of malpractice is prevailing in the Indian IT sector on a large scale … There is an immediate need for provisions to be implemented to stop this toxic culture,” NITES President Harpreet Singh Saluja said.

He made these remarks following an US court rejecting the motion of Infosys, seeking dismissal of gender discrimination allegations made by its top-level employee.

Saluja said this discriminatory actions of the company comes in the wake of the Indian government emphasising on flexibility of workplace, time and developing a work from home ecosystem, which would increase a lot of opportunities for female workers and would enable them to contribute in nation’s economy.

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