The California Civil Rights department voluntarily filed a motion in the first weeks of December to amend their complaint against Cisco Systems alleging that caste discrimination occurred at the Silicon Valley tech giant. In a victory for Hindu Americans, the amended complaint removes the erroneous and unconstitutional assertion that caste and caste discrimination is an essential part of Hindu religious teachings and practices.

Commenting on the motion, HAF Managing Director Samir Kalra, Esq. stated:

“We believe this is a significant step forward in protecting the First Amendment religious rights of Hindu Americans. As we argued in our Motion to Intervene, the California Civil Rights Department is constitutionally prohibited from defining Hinduism or any religion for that matter.”

Several problematic statements and citations in the complaint remain, however.

Foremost among these is the reliance on the fundamentally flawed and statistically invalid survey by activist group Equality Labs on the alleged high prevalence of caste discrimination in the United States. This survey has specifically been called into question by academic researchers at the Carnegie Endowment, Penn, and Johns Hopkins, whose work found that caste discrimination in the US was in fact very rare. 

Also, the CRD’s continues to pursue its case on the basis of many false and xenophobic claims about people of South Asian origin as well as the dubious implication that caste discrimination in India is tied to skin color, in an obvious attempt to draw direct parallels with skin colored based racism in the United States. 

Furthermore, the CRD continues to assert what can only be described as counterfactual statements about the nature of what the plaintiff experienced at Cisco Systems, as evidenced by publicly available court documents that have been filed since the CRD filed its original case in October of 2020. 

Noting that HAF’s involvement in the case was far from over and that they planned to continue to hold the CRD accountable for its violation of the constitutional rights of Hindu and Indian Americans in California, HAF Executive Director, Suhag Shukla, Esq. stated:

“While our motion to intervene was not accepted by the court, we’ll continue to pursue our civil rights claims against the CRD in our ongoing lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Hindu and Indian Americans in California.”