Firm Sued for Taking Workers' Tax Refunds

February 15, 2006 ( - Tata America International Corp. is being sued by an Indian employee who claims the company made him and other foreign workers sign over their tax refund checks to the firm.

The Associated Press reports that from the time he arrived in the United States from India in 2000, Gopi Vedachalam was ordered to sign over federal and state tax refund checks totaling about $25,000 to his employer, according to the suit filed in US District Court in San Francisco. He said that when he was new to this country, he thought this was the correct procedure, according to the AP. He was shocked to find out it wasn’t true, he said.

The news report gives the example of a memo the company sent Vedachalam in 2004 that said, “We are now forwarding you the tax refund check received from the Tax Authority. Please sign on the reverse of the cheque and return it to the below mentioned address.”

Vedachalam’s attorney said that if the judge certifies this suit merits class-action status, it could grow to include the approximately 5,000 foreign workers the company employs in the United States who may also have been allegedly required to relinquish tax refunds.

The firm is an American subsidiary of Tata Consultancy Services, the Indian company that originally hired Vedachalam in Bangalore in 1997.