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Infosys Faces Legal Action In The US For Gender And Age Bias

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Infosys is facing allegations of gender bias yet again, with a former senior recruiter’s suit in a US court alleging that the firm discriminated and retaliated against her when she pointed out discriminatory practices. The suit was filed for retaliatory termination and a retaliatory hostile work environment, and that the defendants broke New York City Human Rights Law.

The suit by the Former Vice President (VP) of talent acquisition Jill Prejean has been filed against Infosys, former senior VP and head of consulting Mark Livingston, and former partners Dan Albright and Jerry Kurtz.

Prejean was hired in 2018 as a VP of talent acquisition and was 59 at the time. According to her suit, she had set up meetings with Infosys’s partners to learn about hiring needs and preferences. According to it, Prejean was hired to find and recruit “hard-to-find executives” to work as partners or VPs in the consulting division.

As part of these meetings, partners allegedly expressed reluctance to hire additional consultants of Indian origin, women with children at home, and candidates over the age of 50.

According to Prejean’s complaint, when she joined the company, “she was shocked to find a rampant culture of illegal discriminatory animus among the partner level executives based on age, gender and caregiver status.”

It also states that Kurtz and Albright were among the partners who Prejean had spoken to in her initial meetings.

“Unlike other partners, Kurtz and Albright allegedly “appeared to take” Prejean’s refusal to screen applicants based on these illegal criteria as “the beginning of a battle for control.” When the matter was escalated, the allegation is that Kurtz asked to hire through an outside vendor whom he could speak to about his discriminatory hiring preferences.

Livingston, the former senior VP who joined in December 2018, allegedly told Prejean that he wanted her “to exclude women “with children at home” and candidates near or over 50 years old.” As per the complaint, when Livingston was told that such demands were illegal, he allegedly became disturbed and angry. He also allegedly threatened to have her removed and that he would outsource it to someone who would meet these demands.

The former talent acquisition VP also alleged that she endured harassment, hostility, and pressure from Livingston, Kurtz, and Albright “as part of a “pressure campaign” to persuade her to discriminate when recruiting Infosys employees.”

Prejean’s job was later terminated. She alleged that she is a woman over 50, is well-qualified and successful — and suffered a hostile work environment and was terminated without just cause.

Infosys’ motion to dismiss the charges was rejected by a New York federal judge on September 30 and directed the defendants to file an answer to the suit within 21 days from the date of the order.

Infosys is yet to comment on the matter, and this story will be updated if they do.

In 2021, four former female employees of the company approached the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and filed a complaint that they were discriminated against. The complaint at the time had said that the company has “repeatedly discriminated in favour of male and Indian employees, especially at senior levels”.

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