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L&T subsidiary accused of discrimination against women

business Updated: Jan 29, 2012 09:24 IST

A million-dollar lawsuit has been filed against L&T Infotech, a subsidiary of engineering and construction conglomerate Larsen and Toubro, for allegedly discriminating against women employees.

The $20 million class action lawsuit was filed against L&T Infotech by a woman who alleged that she was fired soon after announcing her pregnancy.

According to a US district court documents, Deepa Shanbhag, who worked for L&T Infotech, informed human resources on March 2, 2011, and her supervisor the very next day about her pregnancy. She was fired on March 4.

In her lawsuit, Shanbhag claimed she was subjected to repeated sexual harassment by her managers.

The lawsuit, brought by New York attorney Krishnan Chittur on behalf of Shanbhag, alleges that L&T Infotech, "discriminated against her and other employees on grounds of sex and pregnancy".

According to the complaint, L&T hired Shanbhag after she had worked as an independent contractor with them for several months and consistently praised her performance, but fired her the day after she informed them of her pregnancy.

The complaint details allegations of "unrelenting barrage of sexual harassment" and criticism of "women employees from Defendants' managers".

"It fostered an intense climate of hostility towards women at the workplace that was both subjectively and objectively threatening to Shanbhag and other Class members, interfering with their ability to perform their work," the complaint said.

"Women in the workplace should be treated with respect and dignity. We intend to hold L&T fully accountable under the law for what these women had to suffer," said Chittur.

The class action suit has been filed on behalf of 1,500 past and present women employees.