Sun Catches Heat For Hiring Indian Workers

March 19, 2003 ( - Sun Microsystems is being accused of hiring Indian workers at the expense of their older, domestic counterparts.

The class action lawsuit alleges the computer systems company developed an “institutional bias” in favor of workers from India, laying off 2,500 older US workers in order to replace them with the young, lower-paid, high-technology workers.   This action constituted discrimination on the basis of race, national origin and age, the suit contends.   The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for lost wages and unspecified punitive damages, according to a Financial Times report.

James Caputo, the plaintiff’s lawyer, argued that a “statistical evaluation” would demonstrate Sun’s bias against older United States workers. He argues that Indian workers earn substantially less as a group compared with their American counterparts and that Sun’s management believed these workers are “more compliant” and “less willing to make waves.”

To support these claims, Caputo alleges Sun was applying for new H-1B visas even as it was moving to cut US workers and imposed a policy of not rehiring workers laid off as part of the job cuts.

However, Diane Carlini, a spokeswoman for Sun, countered by saying the company follows federal guidelines that strictly control the number of H-1B visas that companies can obtain. She indicated that Sun had successfully defended itself against similar allegations in the past.