Infosys, India’s IT giant, is now entangled in a legal battle in the United States. According to reports, the Bengaluru-based firm has been accused of age, gender, and nationality discrimination in its employment procedure.
A former Vice President of the HR Department for Infosys’ consulting business, in the United States, Jill Prejean filed a lawsuit against the Indian IT firm and several of its senior officials, alleging illegal and discriminatory hiring practices.
In September 2021, Prejean filed a lawsuit against the IT firm Infosys. A United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the company’s request to dismiss the former executive’s case alleging discriminatory hiring practices. Infosys and the accused executives sought dismissal of the claim on the basis that the complainant failed to emphasise particular statements as proof. The defendants have been given 21 days from September 30 to file an answer.
Prejean sued former senior VP and head of consultancy Mark Livingston, as well as former partners Dan Albright and Jerry Kurtz. She had taken Infosys to court for retaliatory firing and a hostile work atmosphere.
Prejean, who was 59 at the time, was appointed as VP of talent acquisition in 2018. Her claim stated that she had scheduled meetings with Infosys partners to learn about recruiting requirements and preferences. Prejean was hired to find and hire “hard-to-find executives” to serve as partners or VPs in the consulting department, according to the report.
Partners allegedly showed reluctance to recruit more consultants of Indian origin, women with children at home, and applicants over the age of 50 during these sessions.
According to the claim, unlike other partners, Kurtz and Albright allegedly “appeared to take” Prejean’s unwillingness to screen candidates using these unlawful criteria as the “beginning of a battle for control.” When the situation escalated, Kurtz allegedly requested to employ through an outside vendor with whom he could discuss his prejudiced hiring preferences.
Former senior VP Livingston, who arrived in December 2018, allegedly informed Prejean that he wanted her to exclude women with children at home and those near or over 50 years old. According to the lawsuit, when Livingston was told that such requests were prohibited, he became upset and enraged. He also allegedly threatened to have her removed and said he would outsource the job to someone who could fulfil these criteria.
The former talent acquisition VP also claimed that Livingston, Kurtz, and Albright harassed, harmed, and pressured her as part of a “pressure campaign” to urge her to discriminate while hiring Infosys employees.
According to Prejean’s statement, she was “shocked to find a rampant culture of illegal discriminatory animus among the partner level executives based on age, gender, and caregiver status.”
Later, Prejean’s job was terminated. She said that despite being a successful, competent woman over 50, she was fired without reason and endured a hostile work environment.
This is not the first time Infosys has been accused of prejudice in the hiring process. Previously, four female employees filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2021, stating that the company favoured Indian and male staff.
Prejean was 59 years old when she was hired by Infosys in 2018. According to numerous reports, Prejean “tried to change this culture within the first two months of her employment,” but was met with “resistance from Infosys partners – Jerry Kurtz and Dan Albright – who became hostile in the face of her objections and tried to circumvent her authority to evade compliance with the law.”
Infosys has been paying out enormous dividends to its shareholders, and it is expected to issue its first interim dividend for fiscal year FY23 next week. In addition, the IT behemoth will reveal its September 2022 quarterly profits. Infosys paid a massive 620% dividend to stockholders in FY22 alone.
In a regulatory filing last month, Infosys stated, “The financial results and proposal for interim dividend, if any, would be presented to the Board of Directors for their approval on October 13, 2022.”
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