Tech Mahindra subsidiary faces claims against non-South Asian workers


  • White worker Indian company likes South Asian workers.
  • The judge used the wrong standard to reject the bias claim, the panel said.

June 14, 2010 A US appeals court on Wednesday upheld a lawsuit filed by a white former employee of Indian IT services company Tech Mahindra Ltd. US alleging that the company discriminated against non-South Asian employees.

A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously dismissed Lee Williams’ 2020 class action lawsuit, saying the judge used the wrong standard in ruling that federal civil rights law was insufficiently sued.

The judge said that Williams should not have been fired because of his race. But the 3rd Circuit said that because the case required a class action, Williams Tech should have accused Mahindra of engaging in a “pattern or practice” of racial discrimination.

The court said they should reconsider the judge’s ruling that the lawsuit was timely because it had been more than four years since Williams lost his job with Tech Mahindra.

Lawyers for the company, which denied discrimination, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither were attorneys representing Williams.

Williams Tech Mahindra He filed suit in 2020 in New Jersey federal court, alleging discrimination in the hiring, promotion and firing of non-South Asian workers in violation of Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

Williams He said he was fired for failing to meet sales targets in 2015, while South Asian employees with similar records will continue to work. He had previously asked to be added to a similar lawsuit in North Dakota, but the case was sent to arbitration.

Tech Mahindra’s American subsidiary has more than 5,000 employees, 90% of whom are South Asian, according to the filing.

U.S. District Judge Brian Martinotti in Newark dismissed the case in 2021, saying Williams did not state a discrimination claim. The judge also said that Williams had waited too long to sue and that the exception did not apply to plaintiffs who had previously sought to join a separate class action.

Williams appealed and the 3rd Circuit reversed Martinotti’s ruling on Wednesday. The panel ruled that Martinotti did not respond to Williams’ alternative claim that, because he originally wanted to file a lawsuit in North Dakota, it was the wrong forum because he is from New Jersey.

The court remanded the case to Martinotti to consider that argument and determine whether Williams had stated a section 1981 claim.

The panel included Circuit Judges Peter Phipps, Joseph Greenway and Cheryl Krause.

The case of Williams v. It’s Tech Mahindra Americans Inc., 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-1365.

For Williams: Mark Hammervold from Kotchen and Low

For Tech Mahindra: Kenneth Gage of Paul Hastings

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Daniel Wisner

Thomson Reuters

Dan Wiessner (@danwiessner) reports on labor and employment and immigration law, including litigation and policymaking. He can be reached at


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