By Arun Kumar
Washington: India’s largest IT outsourcer Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) faces a legal battle after a US court granted approval for a class action lawsuit alleging systematic violations of non-US citizen Indian workers’ rights in the US.
California federal judge Claudia Wilken Monday granted class-action status to the suit filed by two former employees who accused the company in 2006 of forcing all non-US-citizen workers to sign over their US federal and state tax refund cheques to the company.
Tata also deducted their Indian wages from their compensation, the suit filed by Gopi Vedachalam and Kangana Beri alleged.
The judge authorised one national class of plaintiffs, comprised of non-US citizens who worked at the company between 2002 and 2005, to sue for contract violations. The court certified a separate class of employees to bring claims under California labour laws.
“More than 10,000 current and former Indian nationals working for Tata in America now may have their day in court,” Kelly Dermody, a lead attorney for the employees, said in a statement.
However, TCS termed it as a procedural matter, saying the order of the court does not address the merit of the case.
“TCS continues to believe that when this matter concludes, the court will find that the plaintiff’s claims are without any merit,” a TCS spokesman said.
“I am very happy with the Court’s decision today. It means that my former colleagues and I are one step closer to holding Tata accountable,” Vedachalam said in a statement issued by his attorney.