Cisco Squeaks Ahead on Word of Lawsuit

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) enjoyed slight gains Wednesday, ahead of quarterly financial figures to be released at the end of the Wednesday session, while shaking off the effects of an impending lawsuit.

The Shareholders Foundation, Inc. filed the suit by the California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the San Jose-based Cisco over alleged discrimination toward an Indian American engineer.

According to the lawsuit the Indian-American engineer, who was born into the Dalit caste, the lowest case in India's Hindu religion, was harassed by two co-workers at Cisco Systems, who are from India's highest castes, and faced retaliation after complaining to the company.

Even though India's caste system was officially abolished in 1950, the 2,000-year-old social hierarchy imposed on people by birth still exists in many aspects of life.

The lawsuit alleges that the engineer was expected to accept a caste hierarchy within the workplace where he held the lowest status within the team and, as a result, received less pay, fewer opportunities, and other inferior terms and conditions of employment, and when the engineer opposed the treatment, they allegedly retaliated against him by reducing his role on the team, isolating him from colleagues and giving him assignments that were impossible to complete under the circumstances.

The lawsuit accuses Cisco Systems, Inc. of failing to take corrective action, even after multiple investigations

CSCO shares took on 21 cents to $47.40.