U.S. Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Infosys

The Register reports on a new class action lawsuit filed against Infosys in the United States. The lawsuit alleges that Infosys practices employment discrimination on the basis of race and national origin.

I have no idea whether the lawsuit has merit or not. That said, in my view Infosys is going to have a tough time explaining how the demographic makeup of its U.S.-based workforce is not prima facie evidence of widespread employment discrimination in the U.S.

Let be clear on a couple points, though. First, I'm a huge supporter of workforce diversity. Organizations are stronger and more effective, in my experience, when they have workforces consisting of talented individuals with the broadest possible range of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. If the lawsuit is correct, that description does not apply to today's Infosys in the U.S.

The other point I would make is one I've made before on a few occasions in different ways. IT choices have great and growing impact on total staffing levels and costs. As businesses continue to try to find ways to reduce costs — or to further pad their profits if you prefer — they will continue naturally focusing on labor costs. This relentless business behavior is a major public policy challenge among other things. Like most countries, particularly among developed economies, the U.S. expects employers to follow a few rules to support some limited public policy objectives. Unemployment insurance is one example among many.

In general, organizations which are taking advantage of mainframe technology, especially new mainframe technologies, have strong, highly labor-efficient IT infrastructures. Yes, that infrastructure requires some competent, experienced individuals who command reasonable salaries and workplace comforts (and should). Greater overall business efficiency and better service qualities are never free. Unfortunately there are many organizations that are not taking advantage of these mainframe-unique efficiencies and that are trying to cope with escalating staffing requirements to manage sprawling IT infrastructure that's increasingly getting out of control. As those cost pressures further mount there will be too many individuals and companies that try to bend or break the rules such as important labor laws.

Maybe I just described Infosys and its behavior, or maybe not. The plaintiffs have to prove their case, and it's not particularly hard to file a lawsuit. I'll be watching this case and other, similar workplace developments to see what they portend for the future of IT employment in the U.S. and elsewhere.

by Timothy Sipples August 6, 2013 in Current Affairs, People
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