Posted on March 31, 2024

Fired Americans Say Indian Firm Gave Their Jobs to H-1B Visa Holders

Newley Purnell, Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2024

A U.S. visa program for skilled foreign workers has long stoked concerns over American workers losing their jobs to lower-paid foreigners. Now a group of experienced American professionals is accusing an Indian outsourcing giant of firing them on short notice and filling many of their roles with workers from India on H1-B visas.

The American workers say that India’s Tata Consultancy Services illegally discriminated against them based on their race and age, firing them and shifting some of their work to lower-paid Indian immigrants on temporary work visas.

Since late December, at least 22 workers have filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against TCS, whose clients have included dozens of the U.S.’s biggest companies.

The American former TCS employees are Caucasians, Asian-Americans and Hispanic Americans ranging in age from their 40s to their 60s and living in more than a dozen U.S. states. {snip}

While companies often conduct layoffs that affect workers with more seniority, the American professionals say TCS broke the law by targeting them based on protected characteristics of age and race. They say the company’s move demonstrated preferential treatment to Indian workers in the U.S. on the coveted visas.


The complaints revive questions about how Indian IT companies use H-1B visas. The visas are designed for skilled foreign workers but have for years led to concerns that Americans are being displaced by cheaper foreign workers with lesser qualifications. Companies apply for visas on behalf of workers and aren’t required to demonstrate that Americans with those skills are unavailable.


The former TCS workers say that, despite years of positive reviews and often bonuses for their work for clients in areas such as finance, operations and supply-chain management, they were abruptly taken off projects last year.

Many say TCS management thwarted their efforts to find new assignments at the company, even when asked by clients to continue on their projects, and were then terminated. Some said the work they were doing was taken over by younger, less-experienced Indian nationals on H-1B visas.

In their complaints, the former employees cite comments that TCS’s global human resources head Milind Lakkad made in an interview with Indian media last year. He said TCS is trying to reduce the number of Americans it employs in the U.S. and would like to provide more opportunities to Indians there, according to the report.