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US authorities sue firm for harassment against Indian employee

world Updated: Jun 30, 2011 10:27 IST

PTI
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US authorities have sued a leading security firm in California for failing to protect a 66 year old Indian employee who was taunted by his co-workers for wearing a turban and harassed because of his Indian nationality.

The lawsuit has been filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of Inderpal Nayyar, who worked as a security guard for security firm Guardsmark in San Jose, California.

According to the lawsuit, Nayyar faced constant harassment regarding his Indian origin and his age. Nayyar's co-worker repeatedly ridiculed his turban and accent and told him "you are too old" and "you need to retire".

Despite numerous complaints by Nayyar, Guardsmark took no action to address the harassment, EEOC said. Instead, Nayyar was involuntarily transferred, which ultimately led to a reduction of his hours and loss in benefits. Nayyar later resigned from Guardsmark.

"When I told my managers about the harassment, nothing happened, and then, worse yet, I suffered retaliation for speaking out. All I wanted was to be able to do my job in peace. I am thankful that the EEOC has taken my case," Nayyar, a naturalised US citizen, said.

The EEOC filed the suit in US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The suit seeks back pay and other monetary losses, compensatory and punitive damages for Nayyar and appropriate injunctive relief to prevent any future discrimination.