Cisco Systems Inc.: Caste Conundrum Regarding Diversity and Inclusion
Cisco Systems Inc. (Cisco) was a modern technology company with a culturally diverse workforce. In 2008, it embarked on a plan to establish "a culture built on fairness, dignity and respect, free from bias, discrimination and negative behavior." However, despite those efforts, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing brought a legal claim against Cisco in June 2020 alleging workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on caste hierarchy among Indian employees at the workplace. According to the claim, the employee had brought his grievance to Cisco's notice, but Cisco failed to satisfactorily recognize and remedy the situation. What, if anything, had gone wrong at Cisco, and what could other firms learn from Cisco's attempts to alleviate workplace harassment, hostility, and unequal outcomes stemming from casteism? Pardeep Singh Attri is affiliated with Central European University. Hari Bapuji is affiliated with University of Melbourne. Chetan Joshi is affiliated with Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.